Keep Volunteering Voluntary Help to Work

Keep Volunteering Voluntary Help to Work

As charities and voluntary organisations we know the value of volunteering. Volunteering means people independently choosing to give their time freely to help others and make the world a better place. Workfare schemes force unemployed people to carry out unpaid work or face benefit sanctions that can cause hardship and destitution.

We believe in keeping volunteering voluntary and will not participate in government workfare schemes, which is why we have signed the "Keep Volunteering Voluntary" agreement.

The Community Work Placement Programme requires Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) Claimants to be mandated to work for 30 hours a week in a role that will “benefit the community” for a minimum of five months alongside provider-led supported job search. In return for this, they will continue to receive JSA.

Some of the claimants have transferred on to JSA from other benefits and have complex and multiple needs. If they refuse, they run the risk of their JSA being sanctioned, which could be triggered by the host voluntary organisation as part of the placement terms and conditions. 
G4s have been appointed as the Prime Contractor to deliver this programme in our region. It is unclear whether there are placements support costs to the host agency or to ensure a participant is provided with suitable and relevant training, development or travel within the placement setting.

The Community Work Placement Programme assumes that voluntary sector organisations welcome this initiative, when there has been no effective dialogue with sector leaders, at the front end, in its design, delivery or proposed implementation. 
There is no recognition of the time and resources that voluntary sector groups will need to support claimants (some of whom will be the hardest to help) to fulfil the placement requirements, when the sector itself is pushed to capacity in supporting local people and the wider community.

The Community Work Placements Programme is also wrongly associated with volunteering, which, by its very nature is ‘voluntary’, not forced or mandated. We have joined with other voluntary organisations’ in signing a national campaign entitled Keep Volunteering Voluntary

As an organisatios, we see The Community Work Placements Programme as devaluing or displacing existing and future jobs. We believe this programme does not sit with our organisations’ objectives or our values in working with people with respect and integrity.


Get In Touch

Halton & St Helens VCA 

Halton Office: 01928 592 405
St Maries
Lugsdale Road

St Helens Office: 01744 457100 
2nd Floor Beacon Building
College Street
St Helens
WA10 1TF



Halton & St Helens VCA is an infrastructure organisation that provides advice, information and development support services to voluntary, community, not-for-profit and faith organisations and volunteers in the Boroughs of St Helens and Halton.