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Volunteering Brent axed as council funds directed to London Borough of Culture 2020

PUBLISHED: 13:03 12 April 2019

Brent Civic Centre (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Brent Civic Centre (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

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An organisation that supplied work for volunteers and extra help for community groups will no longer provide its services in Brent.

Brent Council has plugged the funding for Volunteering Brent, run by Groundwork London, to make way for vacancies for the London Borough of Culture 2020 programme instead.

The Volunteering Brent umbrella brand closed on March 31 after operating in the borough for four years but staff have not lost their jobs.

A spokesperson said the council made a “budgetary decision” not to recommission its service provision, adding: “We have seen many inspirational volunteers work with community organisations to make Brent a better place, helping ensure each individual enjoys the best volunteering experience possible.”

The service in Brent started in 2015 and over four years had 2,127 volunteer registrations, and created an organisational network of 263 community groups or organisations.

It had a database of volunteering opportunities and staff also offered one-to-one guidance to people who wanted to volunteer. They helped with filling in applications, interview advice and matchmaking volunteers with organisations.

The company placed about 600 volunteers, took part in “hundreds of events” and held 140 volunteer advice sessions and 40 organisation advice sessions.

“We would like to say a warm and heartfelt thank you to all volunteers, community and voluntary organisations, partners and stakeholders for their kindness and consideration towards our staff during these years,” the spokesperson said. “We also want to celebrate the strength and closeness of the community in Brent, which is unmatched in its enthusiasm and engagement.”

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, culture and leisure chief, said a role had been created in the Borough of Culture team to co-ordinate volunteering. He added: “Due to funding cuts we are unable to continue the [service] as it stands and we are looking at other options to continue supporting volunteering and volunteers in Brent. This will include an extensive volunteering programme for London Borough of Culture 2020. Details [...] will be shared with organisations and individuals wishing to volunteer.”

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