Sunday, 29 August 2010

All quiet in the blogosphere

It must be because it's August. Even the blogosphere has a hush about it as people are en vacances. No such luck for me. I can't even afford a UK break, let alone join the hordes (virtually every single person I know)who are jetting off to Turkey the new destination of choice for its ability to provide guaranteed warm weather outside of the eurozone. This has found me, perhaps rather sadly, commenting on the Guardian a lot, particularly on my second fave subject the big society.

One interesting debate has been around the issue of recruiting volunteers and how this is far more problematic than first assumed. Volunteers are unsurprisingly more likely to be middle-class types leading to some big geographical inequalities.

This led me to chip in with the suggestion that due to the changes in voluntary organisations in the past decade, particularly the changes leading to vol. sector organisations playing a bigger role in providing services hitherto provided by the state, there is less room for volunteers, particularly unskilled volunteers so this leaves the young and other groups at a big disadvantage as even if they want to volunteer there are actually very few openings.

The voluntary sector is just not what it was, no longer is it a bunch of do-gooding-amateurs mucking-in, but is now more likely to consist of highly skilled and more often than not paid professionals. One voluntary group I worked with employed ex-nursing staff to run the core part of the operation whilst tea was made by Social Work students on placement.

Openings which do exist are generally confined to the fund-raising side, though the top level work is again now in the hands of remunerated professionals and the ground work is carried out by contractors such as the infamous Chuggers. Charity shops and opening bags are therefore the only real things on offer.

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