Volunteers in West Midlands museums and galleries outnumber paid employees by more than 2:1

Forthcoming research from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council will highlight the abundance of volunteers working within local museums and galleries.

Given the increasing interest in the role of volunteering can play in keeping people ‘job ready’ during the recession, this finding may well attract interest from beyond the heritage sector.

Along with a detailed look at the profile of the workforce, Fast Forward 2008 will provide an update on a range of variables, including levels of visiting and average service standards (disability access, audience development, and so on) within West Midlands museums.

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Volunteer work in the recession – a lost opportunity?

No increase in volunteering

New Citizenship Survey data published last week by CLG show volunteering levels have remained almost static over the past year in England.

Levels of formal volunteering at least once a month are unchanged since 2001.

This lack of increase in volunteering despite the rising levels of unemployment seems to confirm what many in the voluntary and community sector have been saying about a lack of funding and capacity to meet increased demand for volunteering opportunities.

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Engaging communities in the new economy – Observatory conference debate

Engaging communities in the new economySupport the community organisations who are working on the ground, was a strong theme in both workshops on ‘engaging communities in the new economy’ at the Observatory’s 2009 Annual Conference.

The workshop heard from voices working with communities in the region who articulated their frustrations in having to fit their work around funders’ requirements, rather than funders coming to them and saying ‘how can we support you to do what you do?’

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Worcestershire awarded grant to promote intergenerational volunteering

FamilyWorcestershire has been awarded part of a £5.5 million grant as part of a cross-government scheme to promote intergenerational volunteering. The Generations Together campaign aims to encourage meaningful interaction between young and old generations across the region.

Over the next two years £386,800 will be available for Worcestershire’s transferable skills project. This project aims to provide more than 700 community project volunteers, both young and old, with additional skills to encourage greater understanding between generations, challenge negative stereotypes and increase interaction between different age groups.

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