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We’re asking the next UK Government to…

… guarantee everyone claiming social security benefits can volunteer.

And asking them to:

  • Agree that people should be able to volunteer without fear of losing their benefits.
  • Extend the Access to Work scheme to enable disabled people to take up volunteering and training opportunities.

About 280,000 people across Scotland and as many as 2.5 million people across Great Britain are supported by UK Government social security arrangements because of a disability or long term health condition, where a work capability assessment may be used to determine their eligibility and the award.

When we gave a small sample of those people sight of a restricted policy statement from the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about Work Capability Assessments, over 70% said the statement left them afraid of volunteering or unsure if their benefits would be affected by volunteering.

Given that the overall rates of people volunteering have fallen significantly since the pandemic, that many inequalities in participation have got worse, and that people’s health and wellbeing usually improves by volunteering, it has never been more important for everyone to protect people’s freedom to volunteer.

In 2022, we worked with people directly affected and with a wide range of partners to co-design a survey to ask people whether that DWP policy statement reassured them or whether it discouraged them from volunteering.  You can click this link to view/download the survey report and recommendations.

… introduce a right to request reasonable paid leave for volunteering for charity trustee duties.

Third sector organisations are operating under increasing demand for their services while running costs have increased and funding has become increasingly scarce.

The cost of living crisis is making it more difficult for people to volunteer too: particularly in more demanding roles that require a regular or long-term commitment.

Strong charity governance is critical at the best of times and organisations are reporting that it is increasingly difficult to recruit volunteer trustees.

Click here to read more about the impact of the cost of living crisis on volunteering in Scotland (Volunteer Scotland).



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