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Ed Miliband pledges £1.1 million to promote volunteering among hard–to–reach groups

13 September 2006

Ed Milliband, Minister for the Third Sector, today pledged over £1million of funding to spread the best ideas for recruiting and retaining volunteers from hard–to–reach groups.

Mr Miliband announced that £1.1m has been awarded through the Office of the Third Sector's flagship GoldStar programme – aimed at organisations who work to increase the number of volunteers among people with disabilities or long–term illnesses, black and minority ethnic groups and those at risk of social exclusion.

The GoldStar programme, run by the OTS in the Cabinet Office, provides funding for third sector organisations to spread good practice around recruiting, managing and retaining volunteers and mentors from groups at risk of social exclusion.

Speaking at the GoldStar national conference, Ed Milliband said:

‘I am delighted that we can support the Goldstar programme. Its projects show how volunteering can transform lives and communities.

‘Voluntary organisations have the ideas and skills to help overcome social exclusion and can enable people who might otherwise have felt on the margins to use their experiences to empower others.

‘Sometimes the resources and mechanisms are not in place to spread inspiring examples from one organisation or one town. With funding from the government these projects will be able to carry on their own valuable work and spread good practice around the country.’

Phase 2 of the GoldStar programme sees 22 organisations receiving awards that amount to £1.1m in funding. A third of the grants will be spent on sharing this experience with other voluntary organisations with the remaining two–thirds to be spent on the projects themselves.


Notes to editors

  1. The GoldStar programme is a two–year £5million fund (2.5 million in 2006/7 and 2.5 million in 2007//8), formally launched in November 2005. It is an exemplar programme focusing on the recruitment and retention of volunteers, mentors and befrienders from groups at risk of social exclusion, including:
    1. People with no qualifications
    2. People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups
    3. People with disabilities or limiting long–term illnesses
  2. For a full list of successful Phase 2 grant recipients – and further information about the GoldStar programme – go to [External website]. GoldStar programme Phase 2 is continuation funding of existing Volunteer Recruitment Fund projects with a focus on spreading good practice in the recruitment, management and retention of volunteers. The first phase of GoldStar funding was awarded March 15, 2006 and amounted to £2.4m.
  3. The programme is being administrated by the Tribal Group, a company with wide experience of grants administration for the Voluntary and Community sector. Tribal Group will have a wide ranging role including consultancy advice to projects, organising events, and publishing good practice material.
  4. There are currently record numbers of volunteers – in 2005, 20.4m adults in England volunteered at least once a month either informally (for someone other than a relative) or formally (for a group club or charity. This was a significant increase, up from 18.4m in 2001. However, volunteering opportunities are not spread equally and this programme is part of a wider strategy to increase the number of volunteers from groups at risk of social exclusion.
  5. In recognition of the increasingly important role the third sector plays in both society and the economy, the Prime Minister announced a new Office of the Third Sector in May 2006. Ed Miliband was appointed as the new Minister for the Third Sector, working in the Cabinet Office to Hilary Armstrong, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. For more information, please go to
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