TimeBank, a voluntary organisation celebrated by the government in their Big Society plans, have shed a third of their staff following a government funding axe.
Third Sector magazine has revealed that TimeBank, one of the voluntary organisations most trumpeted by the government as part of the Big Society, has been forced to shed a third of its staff following an application for £500,000 of funding being rejected by the Cabinet Office’s strategic partners programme.
The voluntary sector was supposed to be the spearhead of the Big Society, described by David Cameron as his “great passion”, however following government cuts its organisations have been badly hit.
You may think that Time Bank, which has supported 300,000 people to volunteer in the last decade, would be key to any supposed volunteering renaissance. Indeed as Left Foot Forward reported in March, civil society minister Nick Hurd has praised TimeBank for “countering the cynicism” about the Big Society concept.”
The chairity’s chair, Paul Jackson, has said that the decision”flies in the face” of the government’s commitment to the big society agenda:
“They want more people to be encouraged to take an active role in their communities and get involved in social action,” he said.
“Well, we have been doing just that for the past 10 years. In fact, we’ve helped hundreds of people to get online through our volunteering projects, which directly complement the government’s Digital Champions scheme.
“Sadly, our contribution to continuing this important work has been severely compromised by having to reduce our workforce.”
Cameron previously said the Big Society could not happen on its own and stated:
“We need a government that helps to build a big society.”
Unfortunately for Cameron, his does not appear to be such a government, as it seems unaware of the importance of nurturing volunteering organisations.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.