participation of young people in volunteering, encouraging young
people to do voluntary work as part of their normal lives and
enabling them to do voluntary work in the UK during pre-college gap
pre-Budget consultation, involving the voluntary and community sector
and businesses, coming at the start of 2005 - The Year of the
The chancellor was joined by home secretary Charles Clarke, chief
secretary to the Treasury Paul Boateng, and economic secretary John
Healey. Ian Russell, chief executive of Scottish Power plc, announced
the results of the Russell Commission consultation on youth
volunteering. The Russell Commission report will be published around
the time of the Budget.
The chancellor highlighted the importance of voluntary action and
mentoring, and called for more people to give up time to help others.
He discussed how to expand the participation of young people in
volunteering, how to extend the scope of mentoring, and how
businesses as well as individuals can be more involved. He also
launched a new guide explaining the tax incentives for corporate
The chancellor said:
'I believe we have a goodwill mountain just waiting to be tapped.
Building upon the current engagement of young people - three million each
year in voluntary work - we find that a majority of young people aged
15 to 24 year old - 59 per cent - want to know more about how to get
involved in their communities.
Let us set a practical aim: that the majority of young people do
volunteer and that over the next five years one million new young
people become volunteers. And let us now set a national framework:
business, government and the voluntary sector working together to
encourage, enthuse and engage youth in community action.'
Mr Brown's full speech follows (at end)
Mr Clarke said:
'Volunteering enables people to make a real difference in both their
lives and the lives of others in a huge variety of ways, from working
as a mentor to assisting a neighbour do their shopping. Earlier this
month the chancellor and I launched the Year of the Volunteer 2005
which forms an important part of a cross-government commitment to
encourage citizens to give their time to make communities better
places for us all.
'I recognise the important role that volunteering can play in a young
persons life and the Russell Commission is currently working in
partnership with voluntary groups and businesses to identify and
build on what works in UK volunteering. Their proposals will inform
the government's National Youth Volunteering Strategy and I await the
commission's report with interest.'
Ian Russell, CEO of Scottish Power said:
'By responding to the needs and aims of young volunteers themselves,
the national framework aims to make volunteering the norm among young
people and help establish a pattern of lifelong engagement which will
be to the mutual benefit of the individual, the local community, and
Britain as a whole.'
1. The Russell Commission was established in May 2004 by the
Chancellor and Home Secretary, to develop a new National Framework
for Youth Action and Engagement. The Framework will help increase
the level of community participation by young people of 16-25 across
2. The commission is headed by its sole commissioner, Ian Russell,
Chief Executive of ScottishPower plc. The commission has also been
supported by two advisory groups - an Independent Advisory Group and
a Youth Advisory Group. The commission held a period of national
consultation between 4 October and 31 December 2004, and will deliver
its report to the chancellor and home secretary around the time of
Budget 2005. The commission's website is at
3. The chancellor announced the Year of the Volunteer in Budget 2004
which the Home Office are taking forward. It was launched at a
'Local Heroes' Ceremony on 10 January, when 68 Local Heroes from all
over the UK were recognised for their outstanding contributions to
their communities. Through the Year of the Volunteer, the government
will work with the VCS and corporate sector to promote the
extraordinary contributions being made by volunteers all over the
country, in order to recognise their efforts and to encourage others
to participate in these sorts of activities. VCS representatives are
working with the Home Office to devise a series of calendar of events
during the year. The website for the Year for the Year of the
Volunteer is www.yearofthevolunteer.org
4. Evidence suggests that the generous tax framework for corporate
giving is underused. The Guide to Tax Incentives for Corporate
Giving, published today by HM Treasury and the Home Office, aims to
provide business with clear and concise information about the range
of tax incentives available, in order to increase their take up. It
has been written in consultation with the business and voluntary
sectors and is available at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/voluntarysector.
SPEECH BY GORDON BROWN, CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, VOLUNTEERING CONFERENCE - HM TREASURY
Check against Delivery
'Let me start by welcoming you all to the Treasury for this conference
held at the start of 2005 - the Year of the Volunteer.
In the last few weeks the generosity of the British people has been
More people giving spontaneously to the tsunami appeal than at any
time and in any previous appeal.
Mothers and young children giving often more than they can afford.
More money raised for a single appeal than at any time in our
Men and women drawn closer than ever together by a shared
determination to help, to care, to heal the wounds.
This concern for others has resulted in£250 million being raised by
the British public for the tsunami victims so far.
And we estimate that after Gift Aid - and the waiving of VAT on the
national concert and record - nearly£300 million will have been
The facts that are now available show that 81 per cent of the adult
population gave to the tsunami appeal.
I believe that in Britain giving per head amounted to twice that of
the USA and three times that of some of our European neighbours.
So Britain can indeed be proud that the demonstration of sympathy and
solidarity has been followed by a demonstration of financial support
and voluntary action - people responding urgently and generously.
But something else happened which makes me believe that while 2004
ended in the horror of the world's greatest modern natural disaster
2005 has begun in hope - that millions of people can come together
We have seen the extraordinary power of nature to destroy but we have
also seen the extraordinary power of humanity to build anew.
And not only has money been given but while doctors, nurses, aid
workers went from Britain to the scene of the disaster, throughout
Britain also thousands of men, women and children gave up their
holidays and their spare time to help in charity shops and volunteer
for relief organisations - showing the deep seated generosity of
spirit of the British people.
In Britain today there is no compassion fatigue: in Britain today
there is a goodwill mountain waiting to be tapped.
So in addition to the more simplified Gift Aid scheme which makes it
easier to give and which is worth over half a billion pounds a year,
I can say that we are discussing for implementation, and are
interested in hearing from you today, how we can do more to extend
regular payroll giving to charity especially among employees of small
business. And we are today publishing details on how businesses can
give more easily to charities.
And I sense a new spirit in Britain: that the people of Britain want
this unprecedented demonstration of generosity to be given enduring
And I believe at the heart of that enduring purpose is that we make
it possible for more men and women - and especially young men and
women - to engage in voluntary action nationally and internationally.
Already 3 million young people volunteer each year.
41 per cent of young people are involved in formal volunteering and
67 per cent in some sort of informal volunteering.
But we can do more.
So it is appropriate that in 2005 - the Year of the Volunteer - we
now ask how we can do more to convert what have been magnificent
spontaneous acts of generosity from people never before involved in
giving of money or time into lasting commitment to engagement in our
community - and this is the theme of my remarks today.
And so I want today to discuss with you:
* how for the future we can do more to make possible the giving of
time by volunteers - in particular, to deliver a step change in the
participation of young people in volunteering activity;
* how we can help young and older people fulfil their potential by
expanding and extending the scope of mentoring - including by using
modern means of communication to provide access to help, advice,
information and guidance;
* and how business as well as individuals can be more involved in
volunteering and mentoring activity.
In the 1960s from America there was launched the Peace Corps - an
international commitment to harness the idealism many felt in the
face of threats to human progress.
Now here in Britain in 2005 we are considering a new British corps -
with the same objective of harnessing the idealism of young people,
to make them partners in human progress.
Since the 1960s we have seen President Clinton's Americorps and
President Bush's Freedom Corps and today in the United States four
times as many young people have signed up for voluntary work than in
And just as young people are engaged in national community service in
America and now in South Africa, the Netherlands and Canada - working
across racial and regional lines to build a stronger national
community, constructing tens of thousands of homes, immunising
hundreds of thousands of children against disease, and teaching
millions to read - so too
I believe that a new call to service should be issued to all young
people in Britain - with a new national framework and new
opportunities to engage a new generation of young people in serving
And from the Russell Commission - set up by the Treasury and by David
Blunkett last year - which has been listening to what young people
want, working with organisations like many here today that are
already working successfully with young people, is emerging a
proposal for a step change in the numbers of and level young people
engaged in voluntary activity - with proposals to provide nationally
and locally the means by which they find it easy to participate and
to make the experience more appealing, more accessible, more relevant
and more rewarding to them.
And so in this Year of the Volunteer Charles Clarke and I want to
build upon the ambition of the Russell Commission's early proposals.
Building upon the current engagement of young people - 3 million each
year in voluntary work - we find that a majority of young people aged
15 to 24 year old - 59 per cent - want to know more about how to get
involved in their communities.
And this is the goodwill mountain I have talked about that - with the
Russell Commission's recommendations on the way - is waiting to be
Let us set an objective: that national youth community service
becomes a feature of the lives of the majority of young people.
Let us set a practical aim: that the majority of young people do
volunteer and that over the next five years 1 million new young
people become volunteers.
Let us now set a national framework: business, government and the
voluntary sector working together to encourage, enthuse and engage
youth in community action.
And let us create new opportunities for national community service
from short-term projects to one year of national community service.
A gap year should not be available just to those whoseparents have
money and can afford to pay their teenage sons and daughters through
a year off from studies.
So from this spring through Project Scotland 450 young Scots will
have access to new volunteering opportunities, including help with
travel and basic living expenses.
Here in England our pilot gap year programme encourages
school-leavers who cannot afford to do so from their own funds to
enjoy a gap year -- a year of service in their own communities. And
more than 250 volunteers have benefited from this programme so far.
But we need to go further - to tap into the enthusiasm young people
have at an early age, to build support for volunteering in the
community, to encourage lifelong volunteering not just a one-off gap
And in particular we know that young people are keen on two to three
month or part-time volunteering and community service opportunities -
with the finance to back up their efforts.
I know that Ian Russell is talking to the top 100 companies in
Britain and calling for their engagement.
I look forward to the Russell Commission's report in the spring.
And then we will set out how, in direct partnership with the
voluntary and community sector, business and - crucially - with young
people themselves, we can do more.
But why do we believe these volunteering opportunities are so
I was brought up in the town of Kirkcaldy - the home of Adam Smith
who described in his Wealth of Nations the economic benefits of
markets - 'the invisible hand'- but the same Adam Smith in his Theory
of Moral Sentiments extolled the virtues of co-operation and altruism
- that is 'the helping hand'.
And the community where I grew up revolved not around only around the
home but the church, the youth club, the rugby team, the local tennis
club, the scouts and boys brigades, the Royal National Lifeboat
Institution, the St Johns and St Andrews Ambulance
Society...community not in any sense as some forced coming together,
some sentimental togetherness for the sake of appearances, but out of
a largely unquestioned conviction that we could learn from each other
and call on each other in times of need, that we owed obligations to
each other because our neighbours were part also of what we all were:
the idea of neighbourliness woven into the way we led our lives.
And while some people say you have only yourself or your family, I
saw every day how individuals were encouraged and strengthened, made
to feel they belonged and in turn contributed as part of a intricate
local network of trust, recognition and obligation encompassing
family, friends, school, church, hundreds of local associations and
And while it is easy to romanticise about a Britain now gone, I
believe that there is indeed a golden thread which runs through
British history not just of the individual standing firm for liberty
but also of common endeavour in villages, towns and cities - men and
women with shared needs and common purposes, unitedby a strong sense
of duty and fair play.
There is a strong case for saying that in the age of enlightenment
Britain invented the modern idea of civic society - rooted in what
the Scottish philosopher Adam Fergusson called our 'civil
responsibilities', eventually incorporating what Edmund Burke defined
as 'little platoons': ideas we would today recognise as being at the
heart not only of the voluntary sector but of a strong society.
And this is my idea of Britain and britishness today. Not the
individual on his or her own living in isolation sufficient unto
himself but the individual at home and at ease in society. And in
this vision of society there is a sense of belonging that expands
outwards as we grow from family to friends and neighbourhood; a sense
of belonging that then ripples outwards again from work, school,
church and community and eventually outwards to far beyond our home
town and region to define our nation and country as a society.
Because there is such a thing as society - a community of
communities, tens of thousands of local neighbourhood civic
associations, unions, charity, voluntary organizations and
volunteers. Each one unique and each one very special. A Britain
energised by a million centres of neighbourliness and compassion that
together embody that very British idea - civic society. And I believe
that in future charities, voluntary groups and community
organisations can have an even bigger role in our social provision.
Call it community, call it civic patriotism, call it the giving age,
or call it the new active citizenship, call it the great British
society - it is Britain being Britain. And my vision is of
communities no longer inward-looking and exclusive, but looking
outwards, recognising that when the strong help the weak we are all
stronger. National leadership not seeking centre stage, but creating
space for the neighbourliness and voluntary energies of millions of
people to light up our country.
And this is voluntary action not doing things for people - and
creating a dependency inducing relationship - but doing things with
people, working for the common good. People - over the life cycle
from the cradle to the grave - helped in childhood, helping in youth
and adulthood, helping again - and helped in old age - reciprocity
across the generations - making a reality of Burke's definition of
society as 'a partnership extended over time'.
And we all know the real strengths of voluntary action and
That volunteering is most often about the one to one, person to
person, face to face, help advice and support that is not available
in impersonal or standardised services but where, with the emphasis
on the individual, the person who volunteers can provide solutions
that others cannot.
John Dilulio - former head of the White House Office of Faith-based
and Community Initiatives - quotes a conversation between Eugene
Rivers, a Minister in Boston, worried about his hold on a new
generation of young peopleand a local youth who has not only become
a drug dealer but has a greater hold now over the young people. 'Why
did we lose you?' asks the Minister to the drug dealer. 'Why are we
losing other kids now?' to which the drug dealer replies: 'I'm there,
you're not. When the kids go to school, I'm there, you're not. When
the boy goes for a loaf of bread ...or just someone older to talk to
or feel safe and strong around, I'm there, you're not. I'm there,
So voluntary action is indeed about being there.
And voluntary action, while sometimes conducted through national
organisations, is characteristically local: volunteers working on the
ground, at the grass roots, at the heart of local communities, far
better positioned than ever a government official could be both to
see a problem and to define effective action.
As has so often been said, you do not rebuild communities from the
top down. You can only rebuild one family, one street, one
neighbourhood at a time. Or as faith based organisations often put it
- one soul at a time.
Indeed, in the face of drugs, crime, vandalism and social breakdown,
volunteers - there on the ground, one to one, person to person -
really do matter and make the difference that others cannot.
And so too does the second great strength of those who volunteer -
their ability to identify unmet needs and to meet them.
Long before government took notice, individuals in community action
and voluntary associations saw wrongs that had to be righted - from
university settlements, organisations to help the homeless and feed
the hungry and care for the sick - to, even today, innovations from
the hospice movement and the treatment of AIDS to playgroups, mothers
and toddler groups and volunteering amongst old people.
And through their capacity to innovate, to do new things, to break
new ground, to cross new frontiers, to do what standardised services
often cannot do - to try things out, to work informally, to do things
differently - volunteers and voluntary organisations often change the
way we see things and do things.
And that brings us to the third great strength of volunteering -
never to be matched by government action: that it is in itself an
education in citizenship for volunteers and recipients alike.
Volunteering doesn't just have practical benefits to for those that
give up their time - boosting employability for example - but, as the
Russell Commission has found for young people, it broadens people's
horizons, giving them a chance to experience new possibilities,
develop new skills, gain confidence, build networks that will benefit
them throughout their lives and is thus an education in citizenship.
And even more than that. Those who embark on voluntary action out of
a sense of duty often end up with the realisation that it has brought
a new richness of meaning to their own lives - that in the giving,
they have received in a different way as well.
And because voluntary and community action is so important, we as a
Government have tried to work with voluntary groups, nationally and
locally, to enable them to do more and to make the difference they
want to achieve.
A lot has already been done.
But despite the wonderful efforts of many great organisations, many
people still don't know how to volunteer, where to go, who to ask for
Many don't understand that you can give some of your time without
giving all of your time.
And many - particularly the young - find formal volunteering
complicated and confusing.
And so I believe we must look at new and innovative ways of helping.
In the United States some firms give their employees a week off for
voluntary work. In other places, the expenses of volunteers are paid,
and in some places the tax system works to make things easier. But
often it is not about financial incentives to volunteer, but about
making the connections so that those who need help can link up with
those who want to help.
And I want to set down what we will and can do
First, we need to make information about, and access to, volunteering
easier. Too often in the past we have been very conservative and we
have got to do better. In particular there are huge opportunities
through better use the internet, TV, media, and just local word of
mouth - and I am pleased that earlier this month Charles and I were
able to launch the new Year of the Volunteer website which will
provide information and advice on how to volunteer.
Second, we need to widen the range of opportunities available. Too
often volunteering can be seen as boring rather than exciting; not
stretching or challenging. Indeed, sadly, volunteering remains a
persistently old fashioned concept to many.
Third, we must also play a greater role in recognising volunteering -
encouraging schools to do more and persuading businesses to give
employees more time off for volunteering and better reward the
importance of qualifications from volunteering experience when
And, fourth, we have to examine and then remove any barriers to
volunteering - looking at possibilities such as help with travel and
living expenses, with government and business both playing a role.
And in addition to encouraging volunteering in new ways, I turn to
initiatives to encourage mentoring.
The central element of mentoring is a long-term, personal, one-to-one
relationship in which, over time, the experience and knowledge of one
person helps another to learn and to grow.
It is an approach that is being adopted everywhere from schools to
the career service to the workplace, and for everyone from
looked-after children, to new entrepreneurs, to the long-term
unemployed, and from gifted children to under-achievers.
You might say mentoring is about befriending; about people helping
people and people needing people to make the most of themselves and
be all they can be - bridging the gap between what they are and what
they have it in themselves to become. Giving advice and help on
everything from school courses to careers in music or businesses to
very personal advice on growing up. And while adult mentors are most
common, a young person will often benefit from having another young
person as a mentor, especially one who shares similar life
experiences. And that young person often will go on to mentor someone
else. It is a rare form of volunteering - one that generates its own
In one programme for young people at risk in the United States, those
befriended or mentored were 46 per cent less likely than others to
use drugs and 27 per cent less likely to use alcohol. They were also
less likely to get into fights or to be truant from school.
On a smaller scale, we are seeing similar encouraging results in
Britain: Chance UK, a child mentoring scheme, has found that three
quarters of mothers interviewed saw positive changes in their child's
behaviour; four out of five regarded their child's mentor as a good
influence; and over two thirds reported benefits for their own
relationship with their child. Another programme - Roots and Wings -
showed that mentoring can significantly increase the chances of young
people staying on at school.
So for the schools still with no mentoring, new programmes are being
sponsored by both the Home Office and the Department for Education.
Mentoring is also an important component in the Connexions Service -
the new careers and guidance service for 13 to 19 year olds - with
young people acting as peer mentors and role models for other young
And this month Fiona Mactaggart launched a new national Mentoring and
Befriending Foundation, backed up by over£4 million, to help
mentoring organisations expand their activities into communities that
are not yet being reached and create new regional mentoring
But there is much room for growth, much more to be done.
I wonder, for instance, whether - whilst taking consideration of
child safety issues - we could not explore more innovative ways of
utilising technology in recruiting and training mentors and to link
those who need help and advice to those who can help and advise.
In America the superb site www.mentoring.org provides a modern and
accessible national infrastructure for local mentoring organisations.
And here in the UK, the voluntary sector is already taking advantage
of new technologies - Timebank and Do-it for example are using the
internet to register both volunteers and opportunities and can
connect and match volunteers with opportunities in a highly efficient
In particular, there is a phenomenon that I know is already happening
on-line which I think promises perhaps the biggest and most exciting
new opportunity for the growth of mentoring - and that is the
phenomenon of spontaneous community.
Just look at the success, for example, of the big websites such as
Ebay, Friends Reunited (with 8.5 million members alone), u.date -
using the power of it to create social networks, connections and
On these websites and hundreds of others, thousands of people who
will never and would never meet are finding out that they share life
experiences, opportunities and problems and are entering into
informal, anonymous, often temporary relationships which nevertheless
are deeply supportive and meaningful to them at what are clearly key
moments in their lives.
I have seen connections made and interventions happen on-line that
simply would not have happened in 'real life', either because those
people would never have met to discover that they share a problem,
experience or opportunity, or indeed that they would never have
confided in anyone else to the extent that they do in an anonymous
forum. Effectively they are e-mentoring each other.
And if this phenomenon could be harnessed, made safe and facilitated,
the potential for this type of informal engagement could be huge. It
will teach people that there own life experiences are valuable to
others going through the same thing, thereby making more social
capital available to more people. It will demonstrate that everyone
can give and receive advice and support. And of course it will give
millions of young people a positive experience of social engagement
which could, if captured, provide 'training wheels' for deeper
involvement and a broad scale feeder mechanism for the volunteering
movement as a whole.
I'm aware of a very exciting cross sector initiative that is under
way to launch exactly this kind of 'life experience exchange' called
'Horse's Mouth', and I would encourage you to find out more about it
while you're here today.
And this leads to the final area where I want to make new suggestions
- how we work together to translate the widespread social concern
that exists among employers and employees alike into effective action
for the common good.
There are already good examples of here in the UK.
Businesses like BT, IKEA, JCB and the City Group Foundation who
donated time, money and expertise to the tsunami appeal - indeed in
total companies have given around£50 million to the appeal.
Organisations like Business in the Community, Heart of the City and
the Charities Aid Foundation which are matching business support with
charities that need help.
* Pro-help - through which 900 firms have donated their professional
services to community and voluntary organisations;
* Cares - now operating in 21 cities already, engaging 35,000
employee volunteers and ready to expand into new areas;
* Business Action on Education - which encourages and facilitates
business engagement in schools;
* Business Broker Pilots - to get businesses more involved in
* Business Bridge - where larger businesses mentor small and medium
* Tsunami Promise - which encourages employees to give through their
salary to the charities involved in the reconstruction effort;
* and many more, not least the full range of mentoring projects which
companies have embraced.
But now is the time to look at what more can be done, to scale up
activities, share best practice, and make even more of a difference.
We know from America that corporate giving of money and time can
reach new heights - through organisations like 'Business
Strengthening America', for example, 1000 businesses and 100,000
employees are engaged in service in their communities and in total 35
per cent of us employees give to charity through their payroll
compared to only 2 per cent in the UK.
That is why the Treasury and the Home Office is today publishing a
new guide explaining the tax incentives for corporate giving and
making it easier for business to contribute.
And Charles Clarke and I are today issuing a call to business to do
more with Corporate Challenge - where more than 60 companies have
already nominated champions but much more can be done.
You would expect me to conclude with some remarks about money.
Since 1997 the Government has tried to encourage the giving of money:
* the more simplified Gift Aid scheme which makes it easier to give;
* improving payroll giving by removing the limit on donations,
introducing and then extending the ten per cent government supplement
and promoting the scheme to employers with new grants to encourage
payroll giving amongst small business - which has together led to a
near trebling of payroll giving in the last four years.
In the coming few years our public spending discipline will not
waiver. We will meet and continue to meet our fiscal rules. There
will be no relaxation of that discipline in our election manifesto.
Priorities will be rigorously selected and pursued. And there will be
no short cuts or easy options adopted in the maintenance of fiscal
But you know the priority we accord to support for voluntary action -
indeed I know you will be discussing many of these issues in more
detail with Paul Boateng this afternoon - and so with 2005 the Year
of the Volunteer I believe it is the moment also to do more to
encourage the giving of time - for we all know that we need, in this
generation, to encourage young volunteers, new kinds of volunteers,
lifelong volunteers and in doing so to create new volunteering
opportunities and together encourage networks that match those who
can give help to those who need help.
We have tried to work with you on key initiatives - not trying to set
the direction but enabling you, often with seed-corn finance, to
build the infrastructure of caring you need:
* the internet-based database - www.do-it.org.uk - providing
individuals with free and direct access to volunteering opportunities
* Timebank - which since its launch in 2000 has matched over 50,000
people to volunteering opportunities in their local communities;
* Community Service Volunteers - with more than 40 years experience
in providing high quality volunteering opportunities;
* and Millennium Volunteers - which to date has signed up 150,000
But - as I have set out today - I believe we can go further
My late father always said that each of us could make a difference.
We could all leave in his words, 'our mark for good or for ill'.
He said that it was not IQ or intelligence or, for that matter, money
that defined whether you made the best mark in your society.
He believed in Martin Luther King's words, that everybody could be
great because everyone can serve.
So I certainly grew up influenced by the idea that one individual,
however young, small, poor or weak, could make a difference.
Robert Kennedy put it best
'Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man,
one woman can do against the enormous army of the world's
ills...against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence' he said.
'Few will have the greatness to bend history itself but each of us
can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all
these acts will be written the history of this generation'.
And together, across the country, volunteers are ensuring not only
that service remains an honourable tradition in Britain but that as
old person helps young person;
young helps old;
neighbour helps neighbour;
mentor helps mentored;
business helps community;
service can make us a stronger, more caring, more resilient society.
Indeed, I believe we can realise a new greatness in Britain not in
high politics but in the millions of quiet, often uncelebrated, deeds
and acts of kindness courage and humanity of people all over our
And that is why the Year of the Volunteer is so important - an
opportunity to celebrate the achievements of not just those
volunteers here today but all those across the country; a chance to
tell everyone about the volunteering opportunities available and
encourage more people, more employers, more organisations to get
involved as we strive in 2005 to engage a new generation in serving