Posts By: Gemma Quainton

Where are all the interesting volunteering roles?

As the New Year rolled in, I did my usual routine of trying to come up with some resolutions, only this year I was determined to think of some I might actually keep. I discarded the usual ‘eat less cake’ and ‘exercise more’ and looked instead towards ‘volunteer’.

Charities take MDGs from the summit to the streets and the tweets

If it was not for the work of charities and select sections of the media, I worry that the UN Millennium Development Goals summit and its purpose would have passed many people by. There has been some progress on the eight MDGs, but it is, at best, uneven and slow. For example, Eastern Asia has… Read more »

Voluntary groups show there’s power in numbers

There was a sense of unity at the Protest the Pope march in London on Saturday, which is no mean feat considering there were around 10,000 individuals, many of them defined by different beliefs, lifestyles, religions and creeds. I arrived by Tube, slightly concerned about getting myself arrested (never a good thing for a first… Read more »

More proof is needed that the big society can be built with a nudge

Persuasion is better than compulsion in making good citizens. So said Conservative decentralisation minister Greg Clark last week. It is hard to dissent from that. One of New Labour’s enduring flaws was an unerring tendency to pass a law if it came across any form of behaviour it didn’t regard as wholesome. Clark was taking part… Read more »

The strange cross-party allure of Citizens UK

In recent months one of the lesser known charities in the nation has exerted a remarkable influence over politicians across the partisan divide. During the election campaign, aside from the BBC, ITV and Sky, only one organisation could persuade the three party leaders to come together and debate with each other – the civic activism… Read more »

Will charities be complicit in the public-sector jobs cull?

Could a little-noticed strike brewing in Southampton signify problems to come for the big society programme of the new government? Earlier this week librarians were balloted on industrial action over the city council’s plan to replace six full-time staff with volunteers. The council says the move will save £137,000. The issue goes right to the… Read more »

Volunteer or else! How a nudge could turn into coercion

Is the concept of volunteering as time freely given to the community being subtly undermined? A couple of recent developments suggest that, while no one is being coerced exactly into volunteering, it could soon become an expectation which influences whether individuals get housing or progress in their career. The carrot of material self-interest is certainly… Read more »

Let the charity tribunal deal with disgruntled volunteers

Hardly a week seems to go by at Third Sector  without us being contacted by some disgruntled volunteer or trustee. The story always runs along similar lines: the volunteers feel they have been badly treated by their charities but have been unable to find any redress other than going to the media. Invariably they have… Read more »

Charities’ public image on runners’ online forums is extremely low

A contributor to an online running forum I frequent recently told the tale of someone who’d secured a place in the London Marathon through a gold bond owned by a well-known charity, then pulled out because of injury. But she was being chased by the charity for the full amount she’d agreed to raise. The… Read more »

Fire and brimstone missing at Unite’s mass meeting for charity workers

The mass meeting last night of charity sector workers organised by Unite showcased a side of the Labour Party rarely seen these days. Labour MPs initially outnumbered charity workers in committee room 11 of the Palace of Westminster, as delegates battled with hordes of tourists and schoolchildren to get through security. The MPs declared themselves… Read more »