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Volunteering while unemployed - VW1 Form

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Volunteering while unemployed 

Westmeath

In these challenging times some folks have considered volunteering but due to fears on how this affects their social welfare payments, have not registered.  Claiming a benefit should not prevent you from volunteering, if you so wish. The following are the guidelines issued by the Department of Social Welfare regarding claiming benefits and volunteering. The VW1 Form mentioned below is available to download here

The Social welfare will not penalise anyone for volunteering, it is acually encouraged as it gets you out of the house, keeps your mind stimulated and as a whole is good for you.  Once your volunteering does not affect your availability to work (You turn down a job because you would prefer to volunteer) then the Social welfare have no problem.

If you are volunteering, you need to fill in the attached document to let the social welfare know.

Claiming benefit should not prevent you from volunteering, if you so wish. The following are the guidelines issued by the Department of Social Welfare regarding claiming benefits and volunteering. The VW1 Form mentioned below is available to download hereVW1 Form

Volunteering and Social Welfare Payments

Frank Harkin and Tommy Nally manning the Good2Talk Stand at his years Teen Aware Concert 18042014If you are aged 18 or over and unemployed, you may be paid either Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) or Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB). Both payments are paid by the Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA). Jobseeker’s Allowance was called Unemployment Assistance; the name of the payment changed in October 2006. For further information see:http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Pages/unemployed.aspx

The Department of Social and Family Affairs provide a range of payments for people who are ill or have a disability. These range from the insurance based Illness Benefit and Invalidity Pension to the means-tested Disability Allowance to the Occupational Injury Scheme for those who suffer an accident at work. For further information see:http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Pages/DisabilityIllness.aspx

According to the Department of Social and Family Affairs you may volunteer if you are receiving the following payments. Please read the paragraphs carefully as certain conditions may apply.

Job-seeker Allowance / Job-seeker Benefit

A jobseeker who engages in voluntary work within the State may continue to be entitled to a jobseekers payment provided that, in engaging in the voluntary work, they continue to satisfy the statutory conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work.

Examples of voluntary work in which jobseekers may engage include:
  • helping the sick, elderly or persons with a disability
  • assisting youth clubs, church groups, sports groups, cultural organisations, local resident associations
The groups involved may be nationally organised groups or local voluntary or community groups.

Aims of the Voluntary Work Option

The aim of the Voluntary Work Option is twofold, namely – to encourage voluntary organisations to involve jobseekers to the greatest extent possible in their existing activities by creating new opportunities for voluntary work and to inform jobseekers of their freedom to involve themselves in voluntary work and to encourage them to do so.

Applying for the Voluntary Work Option

The jobseeker or the voluntary organisation/group involved should request an application form VW 1 from the Local Office. The completed application form should be sent to the Local Office and a Deciding Officer will determine whether the customer may take up the work in question without affecting entitlement to the jobseekers payment. 

Decisions in relation to Voluntary Work

In considering an application, the Deciding Officer will determine whether the work concerned is voluntary within the meaning of the scheme and whether the jobseeker would continue to satisfy the statutory conditions for getting the jobseekers payment. The Deciding Officer will need to be satisfied that the jobseeker is available to take up employment, if offered it, and that they are making genuine efforts to find work. This applies whether the voluntary work is full or part-time.

While it is not possible to lay down hard and fast rules as to what constitutes voluntary work the position should be clear in most cases. Factors to be taken into account will include:
  • the type of work involved
  • the aims and standing of the voluntary body
  • the weekly hours worked
  • the amount of any payment received by way of out-of-pocket expenses

The voluntary work would normally involve only a few hours a day or a few days a week but full-time involvement in voluntary activities would not necessarily be ruled out. However, there should be no implication of Job Replacement or Cheap Labour. 
Any payment for the voluntary work should generally be limited to out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling expenses or meal allowances. 

Illness benefit or disability benefit

VolunteertrainingIf you are receiving illness or disability benefit, according to the Department of Social and Family Affairs the you are allowed to engage in:
  • work for which you do not get paid,
or
  • work you do as part of treatment while you are a patient in hospital or a similar place,
or
  • work you do as an out-worker under a charitable scheme, as long as your weekly earnings are under a certain limit.
You must first get permission from the Department of Social and Family Affairs before doing work of any kind. Contact 1890 66 22 44.

Disability allowance

Please contact Disability Allowance section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1809 66 22 44 or contact your local office.

Invalidity Pension

A person receiving an invalidity pension may volunteer, with the prior written permission of an officer of the Minister. For further information contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1890 66 22 44 or phone your local office.

Blind Person’s pension

Please contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1890 66 22 44, or phone your local office. 

All information in this fact-sheet is taken from the Department of Social and Family Affairs web site at http://www.welfare.ie. If you have any queries about any of the information above, please contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1890 66 22 44. 

CURRAN ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR NETWORK OF VOLUNTEER CENTRES

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29.05.09 Curran announces funding for network of volunteer centres across Ireland

John Curran T.D., Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy, Community Affairs and Integration, at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, today announced a funding package of €2.8 million in 2009 for a network of 21 volunteer centres across Ireland. The primary role of the centres is to match members of the public interested in volunteering with local community organisations seeking volunteers.

Following a review in 2008 of a three-year pilot scheme to fund volunteer centres, Minister Curran also launched a series of measures to support the network of centres into the future. Volunteer Centres in 21 locations will be funded, including in Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Drogheda, Dublin City South, Dublin City North, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick (County and City), Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, South Dublin, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wicklow.

Announcing the funding Minister Curran said:

“Ireland can be proud of its long tradition of volunteering. While Irish society has undergone many fundamental changes in recent years, we have retained a tradition of people helping each other, of coming together and pooling resources and skills when a task needs to be done.  The fact that we are now seeing a significant increase in the number of people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in volunteering bodes well, I believe, for our volunteering culture into the future.

Over the last number of years, the Government has sought to encourage the dynamism of volunteers and communities working together, and has prioritised significant new resources in support of this. These new policy measures and the funding that I am announcing today is a further sign of the Government’s ongoing commitment to creating an enabling environment where volunteering can flourish.”

Note for Editors
The aim of the policy measures for the network of volunteer centres is to maximise their impact in generating and supporting volunteering opportunities, on a value for money basis. Key points contained within the policy document include:

  • Provision of quantifiable service standards for volunteer centres;
  • Introduction of a peer-review mechanism to assess the performance of centres;
  • Clarity and guidelines regarding funding;
  • Cost sharing with local agencies

Volunteer Centre will be Busier in 2009

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Volunteer Centre will be Busier in 2009 due to Rising Unemploymentlogo

Westmeath Volunteer Centre is expecting a large increase in the number of people registering with it to find volunteer work in 2009, due to the increasing number of people becoming unemployed in Westmeath.  Over the past six months the Volunteer Centre has reported that more people calling to the office are unemployed.

“We expect 2009 to be our busiest year yet, as people can often see volunteering as a way of staying active while unemployed, and keeping their skills up to date.  Volunteering can also be a great way to look at other career options and develop new skills,” said Ian O’Flynn, Manager with Westmeath Volunteer Centre. “Since September 2008 we have seen a huge increase in the amount of people using our service, and we would expect this to continue.”

There was a 300% increase in the amount of people looking for volunteer work at Westmeath Volunteer Centre in 2008. Over 140 people registered with the WVC in 2008 and over 100 volunteer vacancies were advertised on its website.  The centre has placed over 50% of those who looked for volunteer work.  The centre also helped to develop 4 once-off volunteer projects in 2008, linking local businesses and non-profit organisations.

 

Anyone interested in using the service can call to the office can call to the office or register online at www.volunteerwestmeath.ie .  “We usually have around 60 vacancies available at any one time and we meet with as many people as possible to identify suitable opportunities for them. I would encourage anyone who is seeking work to think seriously about volunteering as an option.” 

Westmeath Volunteer Centre is a one-stop shop for voluntary activity, providing volunteering opportunities for the public, sourcing much needed volunteers for organisations and providing support for organisations in managing volunteers.

Westmeath Volunteer is the fulfilment of the hard work of volunteers and voluntary organisations working with and has been funded by the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs & Westmeath Community Development.

For more information on Westmeath Volunteer Centre you can visit the website on www.volunteerwestmeath.ie , phone 044-9348571 or call into the offices at:

  • Presentation House, Mullingar
  • ACT, Athlone
  • Irish Rural Links, Castlepollard

Interview with Marian Harkin on Volunteering

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Click here to view 

February 27th, 2008  EP calls to put volunteer work on policy agenda

 

The European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development today adopted a draft report by Marian Harkin Harkin MEP (Ireland, ALDE) on 'The Role of Volunteering in Contributing to Econmic and Social Cohesion'.  Read more

To view an interview with Marian on her report: click here

 

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Marian's report on Volunteering was approved at the meeting of EU Regional Development Committee at it's meeting on Wednesday, February 27th.  It will now go to a Plenary session of the Parliament and if approved, will act as a stimulus to the European Commission to place far greater emphasis on  Volunteering in EU policy in the future.  It will also be a boost to the campaign to have the year 2011 designated 'The Year of the Volunteer'.

 Volunteering empowers you, says Regional Development Committee

Volunteering is good for you, your community, your region's economic development and your national economy. It also helps build the "social capital" that public policies need to succeed. Over 100 million EU citizens volunteer, and every €1 spent on supporting them generates a return of between €3 and €8 - a contribution that should appear in national accounts, says a report approved by the Regional Development Committee on Wednesday.

Promoting volunteering through Community policies, supporting voluntary action using EU funds, and recognising and committing to voluntary activity at EU level helps to establish direct links between citizens, their communities and the Union, explained rapporteur Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE).  Read More

A group of volunteers from Westmeath, Longford, Galway and Sligo visited the European Parliament with Marian on February 28th, 2008 in conjunction with the presentation of her report to the Regional Development Committee.

  

Volunteers from Sligo, Leitrim and Monaghan also visited the European Parliament with Marian on the same occasion.

 

 

CEV Manifesto launch

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The 2006 Manifesto on Volunteering in Europe was launched on 28 March 2006, hosted at the European Parliament by Jo Leinen MEP (Germany, Party of European Socialists).   CEV President, Christopher Spence, opened the evening  by welcoming more than 100 delegates from 20 European countries representing volunteer organisations, business, media, government at different levels and, of course, volunteers. 

Markus Held, CEV Director then outlined the key elements of the Manifesto. Explaining why volunteering matters, he suggested that the sheer number and diversity of volunteers makes volunteering significant at European level . With more than 100 Mio people in Europe engaged in voluntary action - including all age groups, genders, colours, nationalities and social and political backgrounds - it is hard to find a more representative group in Europe.

Furthermore, volunteering matters because of its horizontal nature - the range of areas where it plays a role: it contributes to social cohesion and strengthens solidarity; it is a tool for integration; it fosters active citizenship; is a means of Life Long Learning; it creates economic value; it facilitates networking between stakeholders and creates what we call “social capital”. Last but not least, he reminded the audience, volunteering is FUN.  It helps individuals feel good and useful to the society they live in and it can be a life changing experience for the volunteers and those with whom they work .

 

Highlighting some of the 23 actions of the Manifesto, he urged the European institutions to:

  • Acknowledge the horizontal nature of volunteering in its different policy areas and to work for a volunteer friendly society

  • Stress the obvious link between volunteering and active citizenship, one of the underlying values of the European Union, and to build on what already exists by giving a European dimension to volunteer engagement at local level. 

  • Encourage Member States to provide statistics about the economic value of volunteering, so that the huge potential of volunteering does not remain invisible.

  • Announce a European Year of Active Citizenship through Volunteering, building on the legacy of the International Year in 200, the year of the volunteer in the UK in 2005 and in the Valencian Region in 2006. 

Marijke Steenbergen, Executive Director CIVIQ and CEV Vice President, added that the promotion and further development of volunteering needs the joint effort of all stakeholders, including the volunteer sector, the business sector and govenment at all levels.

Responding to the Manifesto, Marian Harkin MEP (Ireland) stressed her commitment to support CEV in its efforts around the Manifesto, stating, "All politics is local,and volunteering is a foremost local action that impacts on peoples lives in a real everyday sense."  Celia Moore, IBM Coorporate Community Relations and CSR Europe Vice Chair, spoke enthusiastically of the mutual benefits for companies involved in employer-supported volunteering, and highlighted the contribution of volunteer activity towards achieving the Lisbon goals.

 


Finally, Risto Raivio, European Commission, DG EAC, warmly welcomed the Manifesto and proposed a real partnership between decision makers at European level and networks such as CEV. He announced that his unit D4 at DG EAC will deal with the horizontal nature of volunteering in European programmes in the field of Education and Culture – a first step in this direction - and emphasised that volunteering would play a crucial role in the Future Action Programme on Active European Citizenship 2007-2013.

The event concluded with a reception where delegates, including many new CEV members from the new Member States, were able to meet and discuss the Manifesto and exchange ideas for further action.

Volunteering empowers you, says Regional Development Committee

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Volunteering empowers you, says Regional Development Committee

 

Volunteering is good for you, your community, your region's economic development and your national economy. It also helps build the "social capital" that public policies need to succeed. Over 100 million EU citizens volunteer, and every €1 spent on supporting them generates a return of between €3 and €8 - a contribution that should appear in national accounts, says an own-initiative report approved by the Regional Development Committee on 27 February.

 

Promoting volunteering through Community policies, supporting voluntary action using EU funds, and recognising and committing to voluntary activity at EU level helps to establish direct links between citizens, their communities and the Union, explained rapporteur Marian Harkin (ALDE, IE).

 

Volunteering nurtures solidarity

Volunteers help to implement projects under EU-funded initiatives such as the LEADER (rural development) programme, INTERREG (linking European regions) and the Northern Ireland PEACE Programme, notes the report, which calls on the Commission to put in place a system across all funds that recognises the contribution of volunteering towards co-financing EU-funded projects, and to devise mechanisms for costing and using it as a means of matching funding for them.

 

Volunteering is also "a major force nurturing civil society and strengthening solidarity", and supporting community development programmes, says the report, which notes that "re-stimulating" volunteering may be especially necessary in those Member States, such as those emerging from a post-communist transition period, where voluntary activity "has come to be associated with actions of a compulsory nature".

 

The report stresses that volunteering and voluntary activity should in any event not take the place of paid work.

 

Corporate volunteering

The report encourages firms to help fund initiatives to promote and enhance volunteering, as part of their corporate social responsibility strategies. It also urges Member States to create incentives for business to fund and support the voluntary sector, so as to help transfer corporate skills and know-how to the public sector and to improve the quality of life locally, by encouraging "self help" solutions to local problems.

 

Satellite accounts

The report recommends that all Member States produce regular non-profit institution (NPI) "satellite accounts", and include volunteer work in them, to enable policy makers to take account of NPIs in policy formulation. It also suggests that volunteering be made a specific category in EUROSTAT accounts.

 

Volunteering as an education

The report calls on the Commission, Member States and regional and local authorities to promote volunteering through education at all levels, including degree programmes, so that learning during volunteering is recognized as part of lifelong learning.

 

 

Making life easier for voluntary bodies

 

The report encourages Member States, regional and local authorities and voluntary organisations to develop plans to recognise, value, support, facilitate and encourage volunteering, and to work in partnership to do so.

 

It also urges Member States, regional and local authorities to help voluntary bodies to access sufficient and sustainable funding, without excessive form-filling, red tape or bureaucracy, while maintaining controls on public expenditure.

 

The European Commission is asked to put in place a Plan V for Valuing, Validating and ensuring Visibility of Volunteers, to mainstream "volunteer-friendliness" across all areas of policy and legislation, and to investigate the introduction of a legal basis in Community law whereby voluntary organisations would be exempted from paying VAT on purchases.

 

Promoting volunteering

The report encourages Member States to promote volunteering within all communities, both real and virtual, e.g. family volunteering, or volunteering in marginalised groups or groups that might not traditionally volunteer.

 

It also asks the Commission to review its visa policy for non-EU participants in recognised EU volunteer programmes with a view to introducing a more liberal visa regime in particular towards volunteers from EU neighbouring countries.

 

Finally, the report calls on local and regional stakeholders, voluntary organisations and the media to inform citizens about opportunities to volunteer.

 

The Harkin report was approved with 51 votes in favour and one abstention. It is currently scheduled for a plenary vote on 23 April in Strasbourg.

 

Contact:

Andrew Boreham

Press Service

 : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 : (32-2) 28 42319 (BXL)

 : (32) 498 98 34 01

 

Further info:

Committee on Regional Development

REGINEWS

 

 

Volunteer Magnet Book Released

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Second edition of the 'Volunteer Magnet' book released

10/12/07

Following twelve months of working with authors from around the world, the second edition of the highly successful volunteer management guide ‘Turn your organisation into a volunteer magnet’ was launched this month at the Institute for Advanced Volunteer management in Blackpool, England.

The magnet project is unique in that it harnesses the experience of everyday volunteer managers from around the world and asks them to describe, in just 500 words, those things which make their volunteer projects ‘magnetic’.

Editors Fraser Dyer, Andy Fryar and Rob Jackson explain “the philosophy behind the project is that managers at a grass roots level have lots of experience to share, but seldom an outlet to distribute that knowledge. The magnet project allows an avenue through which they can contribute their ideas, and these are then shared freely, via the internet with their peers around the world. It is a great model of both networking and information exchange”

The first edition, published in 2004 was downloaded many thousands of times, making it one of the most read volunteer management guides in history. The new and updated edition contains 50 chapters from 40 authors across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Australasian region.

The free electronic version can be downloaded from www.ozvpm.com. A print version can also be purchased through www.lulu.com or through the OzVPM Bookstore (www.ozvpmbookstore.com) after Christmas

For more information contact Fraser Dyer (UK) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Andy Fryar (Australia) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteer Centres Ireland Welcomes Its first New Member of 2008

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Mayo Volunteer Centre is the first new member to join VCI in 2008. For the moment, the centre is represented by the North Mayo Volunteer Bureau, serving the Moy Valley region, but it will soon spread its remit to encompass the whole county. For more information please contact Marie or Edel at 096 71444 (9am -1pm Monday - Friday).

There are now a total of 17 VCI member Volunteers Centres Nationwide.

They are : 

  1. Carlow Volunteer Centre
  2. Cork Volunteer Centre
  3. County Wicklow Volunteer Centre
  4. Donegal Volunteer Centre
  5. Drogheda Volunteer Centre
  6. Dublin City South Volunteer Centre
  7. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Volunteer Centre
  8. Fingal Volunteer Centre
  9. Galway Volunteer Centre
  10. Kerry Volunteer Centre
  11. Kildare Volunteer Centre
  12. Longford Volunteer Office
  13. Mayo Volunteer Centre
  14. Sligo Volunteer Centre
  15. South Dublin County Volunteer Centre
  16. South Tipperary Volunteer Centre
  17. Westmeath Volunteer Centre