“Volunteering? Uhm…Alex, you’re against the MWA and Workfare aren’t you? Why are you promoting Volunteering?”
Indeed, i am against the Mandatory Work Activity, Work Fare and the Work Programme to a point. However, i am not against good honest, community spirit inducing volunteering. And i’m also worried that, with people being placed on these activities through their providers and job centres, Volunteering will come to be seen as being associated with the Unemployed and, to use a buzz word, “Scroungers” paying back to the community what they take away in Taxes (we still pay VAT, so even the Unemployed aren’t exempt from some form of Taxation).
The way the MWA, WF and WP works, you get little say in the type of thing you’ll be doing, however, when you make your own conscious choice to volunteer in a place that interests you and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something, then, my friends, i have nothing but praise and a sense that there is hope for humanity. Volunteering shouldn’t be seen as work, in my opinion. Volunteering should be seen as helping your local community, you’re providing a service, for free, using your own time and energy to ultimately make someone or a group of people’s lives better.
I’m scared Voluntary work will suffer greatly when the introduction of all the activities mentioned above takes place. Vital local and mostly charitable services, such as support for the disabled, local youth football teams or even just a friendly ear and a hot cup of coffee may have to face the stigma of having “perverse” single parents volunteering with them, or “feckless” benefit bums working with them, all because of the stigma attached to the WP. Services may have to be reduced and costs cut back even more as people may start thinking “Well, they’ll get the people on the dole to do it, i don’t need to”.
I know i may sound rather blaze and a bit hysterical, but i don’t want these services of good will and support to diminish and eventually disappear. If you’re interested in Volunteering, or if you’ve considered it but never really done anything about it, here’s a couple of websites with some more information.
Do-It.Org – Voluntary vacancies around the UK
It’s pretty much widely known now that Volunteering does improve your CV and Employment prospects, however, would you rather doing something beneficial to you and your community at large, or would you rather work for your benefits?
There are benefits in Volunteering and they’re better than the ones you are given. Volunteer for your own gratification, not for your money.