Volunteering Matters is the UK's largest volunteering charity. It was founded in 1962 by Mora and Alec Dickson, who also founded Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). In the 2015/2016 financial year, Volunteering Matters engaged 30,000 volunteers and assisted 90,000 beneficiaries through its 180 volunteer projects across the UK.
Volunteering Matters organise full-time, part-time and one-off volunteering opportunities. They believe that everyone can play a role in their community and should have the chance to participate. The charity focusses on the needs of four distinct communities; young people, older people, disabled people and families. Volunteers over the age of 50 often volunteer through their Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) while they also organise volunteering for companies and corporations through their Employee Volunteering scheme.
The president of Volunteering Matters is currently Lord Levy and the charity is led by its Chief Executive, Oonagh Aitken.
Over 30,000 people volunteer through Volunteering Matters each year. It was Volunteering Matters who pioneered the idea of teaching citizenship in schools – it became part of the National Curriculum in England in 2002.
Volunteering Matters has sought to recruit volunteers from all demographics and backgrounds. Examples of their projects include RSVP, Active Volunteering, Choices, Sporting Chance, Sex Matters Too, Lifelines, Grandmentors, Volunteers Supporting Families as well as many befriending projects to assist older, young and disabled people.
Volunteering Matters also runs weekend volunteering projects in London, designed to give busy people a chance to make a difference in one weekend. They also have a journalist network through which journalists can volunteer their skills to non profit organisations who need extra promotional help. Additionally, Volunteering Matters Action Desks work in partnership with the BBC in 36 BBC local radio stations. They broadcast appeals for volunteers, run awareness campaigns and promote Lifelong Learning.
In April 2015, the charity changed its name from Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to Volunteering Matters. The charity said this was done to make its mission clearer to the wider public and to ensure it was better placed to reach new audiences of people who either want to volunteer or could benefit from one of their many projects.
Volunteering Matters runs many full-time volunteer projects across the UK. These placements can involve things such as helping children in school, providing support to students with disabilities at university, helping the homeless, enabling people with disabilities to live independently, or befriending young people at risk of offending, harm or exclusion from school.
Volunteering Matters Full Time Volunteering is residential and volunteers move away from home and are provided with accommodation and a weekly food and essentials budget. A full-time placement can last between 6 and 12 months, although it is sometimes possible to extend a placement after this date. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary.
Each year Volunteering Matters involves thousands of part-time volunteers throughout the UK. The charity have a wide and varied range of projects available for volunteers to participate in.