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Evaluation of a volunteer bureau

By Frances J. Hawker

Abstract

Volunteer Bureaux have been established in the UK since the mid-1960s. Known, too, as Volunteer Centres, or Local Volunteer Development Agencies, they are a resource both for volunteers & for organisations that require their services. Yet, there is little evaluative research about them.\ud This original, exploratory study examines how one Bureau assisted some persons to\ud begin new voluntary activity. Their motivation is at the heart of the research.\ud Through its response to them, and to organisations that include volunteers, the\ud researcher evaluates the Bureau’s contribution to its local community.\ud The views of several individuals and organisations provide evidence, which is\ud compared with the Bureau’s perception. This is presented with verbatim quotations,\ud and other, factual information. A combination of different methods and variety of sources forms the base of this study.\ud Findings support the view that volunteering is for persons of a wide age range, and\ud from different positions in life. They suggest that both volunteers’ motivation and\ud other influences affect their commitment. Findings also suggest that bureaux attract\ud persons from marginalised groups.\ud Helping such people, especially unemployed ones, may have political implications.\ud However, promoting volunteering through government-initiated work programmes\ud may not increase the number of those who are not already committed to it.\ud Organisations that provide volunteering opportunities are key partners with bureaux,\ud in enabling enquirers to participate. These organisations benefit from the services of\ud bureaux, too. Yet, communication is sometimes a problem, because of’ the limited\ud resources that bureaux have for wide responsibilities. This study shows how the\ud Bureau fulfilled its role, despite these constraints

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/2689

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