Cultural Playing Field

Joint EVDC/NNVIA meeting by Robin Simpson
June 14, 2012, 7:47 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , ,

I was in London on Wednesday to take part in the second joint meeting of the England Volunteering Development Council and the Network of National Volunteer-Involving Agencies. The first part of the meeting focussed on Giving, Volunteering and Social Care Reform as we explored the issues to be tackled by the forthcoming White Paper on Social Care. Dan Poulter, the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, who is a doctor and a member of the Health Select Committee, talked about the importance of the voluntary sector in delivering high quality social care, the need for more integrated care (joining up between the NHS and the voluntary sector) and the challenges of an ageing population. He thought that personal budgets and the personalisation of care will provide a real opportunity for the voluntary sector to add value to care and urged voluntary sector organisations to get involved in the new local Health and Wellbeing Boards (which were created by the Health Act, earlier this year). We then heard from Olivia Butterworth from the Voluntary Sector Partnerships and Big Society Team at the Department of Health who stressed the importance of articulating the value of volunteering (as distinct from the voluntary sector) in this context. She referred to the Strategic Vision for Volunteering published by the Department of Health in October 2011 and two new funding opportunities which will be open for applications later this year – the DoH Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund and the Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund.

The afternoon session focussed on working together to make the most of national volunteering campaigns & initiatives. We heard from the former Olympic athlete David Moorcroft who is leading the ‘Join In’ campaign. ‘Join In’ hopes to harness the enthusiasm generated by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games to take sport back into the community. On the weekend between the Olympic and Paralympic Games (18/19 August) sports clubs across the country will be opening their doors to encourage as many people as possible to join in – as participants or as volunteers. We compared and contrasted the approach taken by ‘Join In’ with three other volunteering campaigns – ‘Give More’, ‘Make a Difference Day’ and ‘Volunteers Week’ – and discussed whether the proliferation of national campaigns strengthened or weakened each other. It was interesting to compare our approach to Voluntary Arts Week with that of some more established campaigns.

Robin Simpson.

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