Today, 31st March 2011 will go down in the history of volunteering as a real low point. A wave of redundancies and job losses sweeps through volunteering like a tsunami today.
All week, I’ve been saying goodbye to colleagues from vinvolved, from Volunteer Centres, from charities and voluntary organisations and from within my own organisation, South Derbyshire CVS.
I’ve been in the voluntary sector for long enough to have seen people leaving at the end of contracts and because funding has come to an end, but the sheer scale of today’s carnage far exceeds anything I’ve seen before.
I’m upset that lots of really good people are being shoved out of jobs that they do really well and enjoy. I’m disappointed that the quality of support that volunteers deserve and have a right to expect will be damaged.
But above all, I’m angry that political rhetoric assumes that volunteering is some kind of new idea and that volunteers will appear by magic to take on a lot of the same services that they have been delivering for years. The only difference is that they will be expected to deliver the “Big Society” without any volunteer management, support, funding or recognition.
I also feel guilty that my own job is safe (for the moment).
Disclaimer: This is a guest post from Dave Thomas, the Manager of the Volunteer Centre who expresses personal views that are not necessarily those of the Volunteer Centre or of SDCVS.