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Voluntary work, would you do it? #commonsense

Here in the Black Country, we’re down to earth and we have shed loads of common-sense. Local councils have had to cut back on spending and so are looking at using volunteers to run some services. The problem is they seem to think they are doing the volunteers a favour, not the other way around.

Many people who could volunteer a few hours, have other  commitments, like caring for children. Older people have health problems and disabilities that need to be taken into account.  People in between jobs need help sorting out what they can and can’t do while claiming benefits.

The most useful potential volunteers are retired people who have skills or knowledge that can be useful. Working in the library one day a week might be something they would enjoy, but not if it means someone else loses their job. Older people feel they have a responsibility to the younger generations.

The requirements for voluntary work often puts people off. They often require people to undertake training when some older people have half a century of ‘training’. Hospitals require people to undertake first aid training. It’s a hospital! There are nursing and medical staff on hand!

The most important thing is for volunteers to feel they are doing something useful and making a contribution to their community. If the local council is wasting money on vanity schemes, while cutting back on libraries, it hardly gives people the incentive to volunteer. Just driving to the local library over speed humps that jar your back and neck can be a painful experience for many older people.  Does the council care? They will spend a fortune on disabled crossings because it’s required by law. That’s a big scheme that they can shout about, but even considering that other disabled people find their speed humps a nightmare is beyond them.

Maybe the councils need to become less bureaucratic and listen to people more. To use an Americanism, they need to engage the people.

What do you think? Would you do voluntary work? Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter for updates.

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