Opinion Former Article

V: Big blow for big society

Commenting on a decision today by the Department for Education to close the Youth Community Action programme, including vschools, v Chief Executive, Terry Ryall, said:

"We are extremely disappointed and alarmed by the Department for Education's decision to end the Youth Community Action programme, including vschools.

Everyone - political parties, the voluntary sector, teachers, the public and young people themselves - have been calling for years for all schools to get involved in social action. vschools was delivering this.

In just four months vschools has established a universal volunteering and social action initiative for every State secondary school in England. Feedback from schools and local government has been universally positive and welcoming.

This Government, like all others, will be judged by its actions rather than its words. It has said that it wants to develop a Big Society with young volunteers at the heart.

The decision not to fund vschools is a big blow for Big Society. The Government is missing a fantastic opportunity to embed a commitment to social action at an early, formative age.

Cutting the programme at this stage is a false economy when the start-up investment has already been made. Any actual savings to the public purse will be minimal, indeed potentially non existent when set against the return on the investment that could have been achieved by letting the programme run as planned."

Ends

For further information please contact Paul Werb, Communications Manager, at paul.werb@vinspired.com, tel 0207 960 7011 or Jane Eggleton, PR Manager, at jane.eggleton@vinspired.com, tel 0207 960 7018 or pippa.bruce@shinecom.com, tel 0207 841 7065

Notes to Editors

1. v, The National Young Volunteers Service, aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers (aged 14-25) in England. It does this by funding voluntary organisations all over England to create inspiring, diverse opportunities and by helping to overcome barriers that stop people from taking action to improve lives, communities and the planet.

2. v's aim is to create a culture where volunteering and social action comes naturally and where the benefits of volunteering are understood and celebrated.

3. v is an independent charity launched in May 2006

4. See www.vinspired.com for more information on what we do and how we do it.

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