Clubs offered free membership of Volunteering England

Thousands of small organisations which involve volunteers are being offered free membership of Volunteering England in a new membership drive by the national development agency for volunteering - which should benefit clubs nationwide.

Volunteering England (VE) has just launched a special package for members which is giving volunteer-involving organisations with an income of less than £20,000 a year, membership without having to pay.

"This offer is part of an exciting new package of benefits and discounts we have just unveiled for our members to improve the services and products we have on offer," Dr Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, announced.

The new package offers a range of exclusive benefits and discounts on volunteer management tools and publications to Volunteering England members, who include organisations from the public and private sectors as well as the voluntary and community sector.

"As over half the charities in England have an income of less than £10,000, this will bring the benefits of being a VE member to a whole new audience of thousands of organisations," explained Dr Smith.

"In addition to these charities, there are some 600,000 community organisations whose income falls well below our threshold, as well as countless small organisations in the public services. So there is a multitude of volunteer-involving organisations that could be taking up our new membership opportunity and gaining all the benefits of membership with us."

With just over 900 members, Volunteering England hopes the new offering will help to boost its membership to 1,500 by April 2009.

"We believe that the new structure will bring into our membership several hundred small organisations at no cost to themselves, and add hugely to the strength of the volunteering movement's voice.

"This membership package is a crucial way for our members to get involved. And we are developing the ways in which we can work together to ensure we represent our members at a national level," Dr Smith added.

"Our new package represents an investment in the future. It provides an expanded range of exclusive entitlements and features, including discounts on a range of volunteer management tools and publications, and a new and improved members' only web area, where feedback and participation will be welcomed.

"There is a range of benefits currently being developed to the advantage of members. There is also a new members' insurance service, which is in the final stage and should be available early in 2009, plus other membership developments which will be introduced later next year.

"Being a member of VE, an organisation that talks to government and national public bodies every day, gives members a voice, regardless of the size of their organisation. As the voice of volunteering, it is in our interests to put together a package that relevant organisations can afford.

"We believe this new membership package is an investment that will help us all take the practical steps necessary to work towards our vision of a society where the potential of people to transform lives and communities through volunteering is fully realised."

For more information about the package visit the VE web site