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Ministers support Volunteers week - 04-06-2007
Volunteers' Week starts today and Cabinet Office Ministers will be joining thousands of people who give their time and energy to benefit of others. Throughout Volunteers' Week the Government will be taking part in celebrating the huge contribution that volunteers make to our society.

Monday 4 June - Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, will be helping volunteers at Open House Cafe in Brentford. The Cafe is a not-for-profit organisation providing affordable healthy food to people in the community as well as volunteering opportunities for people with mental health and employment problems. Ed will be serving food and clearing tables.

Monday 4 June - Pat McFadden, Parliamentary Secretary, will be volunteering with the Holy Cross Community Trust in Fulham. This is a mental health drop-in centre that provides services including advice and counselling as well as free food for homeless people. Pat will help out in the kitchen and with serving food.

Tuesday 5 June - There will be an announcement of new funding for volunteering in health.

Thursday 7 June - Hilary Armstrong, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Social Exclusion, will be volunteering with the Leighton Project in Camden. This is a programme for 16 - 25 year olds with moderate learning difficulties who want to develop their life and work skills. Hilary will lend a hand at the centre helping the young people to prepare shopping lists as well as working in the kitchen peeling vegetables and washing dishes.

Thursday 7 June - A new government funded campaign to encourage people to volunteer to help children in poverty will be launched.

The Government already supports a number of schemes to help create new volunteering opportunities because volunteers play a hugely important role in building communities and reaching out to people who may be isolated. Volunteers also gain a great deal themselves such as new skills and experiences.

The government has allocated up to 100million funding for the implementation of the Russell Commission recommendations through the independent 'v' charity, which is tasked to create opportunities for young people to become volunteers. Additionally, 5million has been invested in Goldstar, a two-year programme launched in November 2005 that focuses on spreading good practice throughout the voluntary sector on how to recruit, manage and retain volunteers, mentors and befrienders from groups at risk of social exclusion. The government also funds the Volunteering for All programme, with 3million over 2 years. This programme identifies and tackles barriers to volunteering for excluded communities.
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