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vInspired keeps volunteering on the agenda

Our policy and campaigns work builds on the experience of young people, our funded projects and our research. We are working to open up access to high quality volunteering opportunities and remove barriers to volunteering ensuring that young people get the most out of their experience.

Youth Unemployment

February 2011: With new figures released by the Office for National Statistics this month showing that youth unemployment is still rising, vInspired's new report exploring this issue through the lens of youth volunteering and social action is particularly timely.  The report looks at the role that volunteering plays in helping young people prepare for and access employment, and also provides a summary of the interventions for youth unemployment delivered by vInspired and our partners.

With online applications to volunteer through increasing by almost 200% during the recession, vInspired recognises that, rather than moving young people away from the labour market or the structures that help them find work, volunteering actually prepares young people for employment, and we are committed to developing new solutions for the relief of youth unemployment through training, informal education, volunteering and community action.

We want to see structured full-time volunteering integrated into the Government’s new Work Programme; the de-classification of young people taking part in structured volunteering programmes as NEET (not in education, unemployment or training); and investment in research to ensure that the long-term impacts of volunteering on young people can be better understood and appreciated by policy makers. Read the full report here.

Young people and the recession

With young unemployment nudging 1 million, vInspired is working hard to ensure that policy makers continue to invest in young people and volunteering. Volunteering can provide a lifeline for young people through the recession and help to avoid a lost generation.

vInspired organised an RSA lecture Lost Generation? Recession and the Young where delegates heard about the benefits of volunteering to both the individual and the state. The lecture was given by Professor David Blanchflower, former Bank of England Monetary Committee Member and included responses from David Willets MP, Shadow Minister for Universities and Skills, and Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

vInspired’s CEO, Terry Ryall commented, “Volunteering, particularly by those young people who are disadvantaged and marginalised, provides the skills and experience to find work and to keep it. For the state, this means less benefits being paid out and more taxes coming in. Volunteering is a solid investment. We’re pleased that all the political parties and business recognise this and call for continued investment now and for the future.”

Find out more on the vlabsblog.

Volunteering and skills

vInspired wants to see wider recognition from employers and educational institutions for the skills that young people develop through volunteering. Recognising and celebrating these skills will incentivise more young people to volunteer.

vInspired’s 2008 report, Discovering Talent - Developing Skills [hyperlink to report], brings together existing research with case studies from vInspired funded projects to illustrate the contribution that volunteering could make to the skills agenda. All young people could benefit from volunteering opportunities which help build their self-confidence and transferable skills. The case studies indicate that there is a strong link between volunteering and employability and that volunteering could be a particularly effective way of engaging young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

In January 2009 vInspired launched the vinspired awards to recognise the contribution made by young volunteers. The awards help young volunteers to identify the skills gained through their volunteering and record the positive impact of their activities. vInspired is now working to get the awards recognised by employers and educators. If you are an employer or educator you join the CBI and Institute of Directors in recognising the awards here.

Download the report:  Discovering Talent - Developing Skills: the contribution of volunteering 

Policy & consultation responses

Positive for Youth 

September 2011: vInspired, The National Young Volunteers Service has responded to four of the Department for Education's Positive for Youth discussion papers.

The responses draw on vInspired’s experience and knowledge from working with 1 million young people through 500 voluntary and community partners and 200 private sector organisations on projects to inspire young people to take action to improve lives, communities and the planet. Importantly, our responses are draw on the experiences of the young people that we have gathered through our research, evaluation, on-line forums, and Youth Advisory Board.

Download vInspired’s responses: 

Young people’s role in society (v led NCVYS working group response) 

The role of business in supporting young people

Helping young people to succeed in learning and find a job

National Citizen Service


Lib Dem Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Policy paper v response

October 2010: v’s response to the Liberal Democrat policy paper on the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering touches on a host of issues affecting the voluntary sector, its relationship to Government and business, and engaging young people in giving both time and money to charities.

For the original policy paper please click here.

Wolf Review 14- 19 Vocational Education

October 2010: This submission argues for a flexible but simplified system which meets the diverse needs of young people and employers. Highlights the role of volunteering and awards in developing the vocational and generic skills that employers are looking for.

For more information please click here.

Skills for Sustainable Growth

October 2010: The Department for Business Innovation and Skills set out their vision for skills and the key elements of a strategy for delivery.  v’s short response makes the case for volunteering, particularly structured supported volunteering, in developing skills and particularly in preparing young people for apprenticeships.

For more information please click here.

v's submission to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee Inquiry into young people not in education, employment or training

December 2009: This document is v’s submission to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee Inquiry into young people not in education, employment or training. The response is based on the experience of the voluntary sector and local authority partners delivering v programmes to young people classed as NEET. In particular the response focuses on learning from our v talent year programme.

v's response to the Youth Citizenship Commission Votes at 16 consultation
January 2009: The following document constitutes v's response to the Youth Citizenship Commission Votes at 16 consultation. The response is based on a survey of the vinspired panel - young people aged 16-25 that have registered their interest in volunteering though The survey results can be found in the research section.

v statement on the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s funding for volunteering
November 2008: This document outlines v’s position on changes to HEFCE funding for student volunteering. Full briefing on the funding changes can be found here.

v's response to the Morgan Inquiry
March 2008: This document constitutes v's response to the parliamentary Morgan Inquiry into young adult volunteering and in particular, considers the Inquiry's questions in light of Russell Commission recommendations and v's current activity.

v’s response to consultation on NMW & voluntary workers
September 2007: This response from v to the DBERR (DTI) consultation on the National Minimum Wage and voluntary workers establishes the position of the charity in respect of proposed changes to National Minimum Wage regulations.

v’s response to the Third Sector Strategy for Communities and Local Government
September 2007: This response from v to Communities and Local Government considers the department’s proposals for the third sector and reflects on the strategic role that youth volunteering can play at a local level.

v's response to the Commission on the Future of Volunteering
June 2007: This written response from v considers how youth volunteering will fit into the wider vision for volunteering being developed by the Commission. It seeks to bring our experience of implementing the Russell Commission recommendations, together with direct input from young people, to influence and inform the Commission.


For more information about v’s policy and campaigns contact v’s Public Affairs and Policy Manager, Araba Webber on (020) 7960 7022 or

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