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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 12/08/2020 - 11:49

Most of the organisations providing volunteering opportunities for young people are charities, so coordination with central government and its priorities is important. The Department for Communities holds all-age responsibility for policy and strategy in the voluntary and community sector, volunteering and community development advice and guidance. It is also responsible for the relationship between government and the voluntary and community sector. It aims to create a partnership environment in which the sectors can work closely to design policies and services.

 The National Citizen Service, a national youth volunteering programme operates in Northern Ireland. It is aimed at young people from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds, so that it can create a balanced social mix of young people. In Northern Ireland, there is a strong cross-community aspect to the programme so that young people are afforded the opportunity to meet one another and mix on a cross-community basis and plan to deliver beneficial community projects in one another's areas.

Note: communities in this context are understood as being the religious and political communities of Catholic/Protestant and nationalist/unionist, respectively.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the UK government pledged £750 million in May 2020 to voluntary and community organisations (as well as social enterprises) to support their services, including youth volunteering organisations. £60 million of this funding is specifically for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support thousands of charities on the frontline helping vulnerable people affected by COVID-19.