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Volunteering apps aim to engage young people

Volunteering apps aim to engage young people
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Volunteering apps aim to engage young people2

IT | Kirsty Weakley | 1 Jun 2011

YouthNet will partner with Sony to develop a mobile phone volunteering application called ‘+U’.

The idea is to deliver YouthNet’s 'Do It' database of more than one million volunteering opportunities through the application and straight to potential volunteers.

Users can find out about local projects through geo-location technology and will earn points for completed tasks as well as being able to share their experiences on social networks such as Facebook.

Emma Thomas, CEO of YouthNet, said: “There is huge potential to develop the way in which we encourage and motivate people to volunteer.”

Initially known as Greenbook, the application emerged from Sony’s crowdsourcing platform Open Planet Ideas, which launched in 2010 inviting the public to imagine how existing technology could be used to tackle environmental and sustainability issues.

A preview version of the application will be available to trial later this year and the date for the final product will be announced in September 2011.

v app to attract young volunteers

Meanwhile v, the National Young Volunteers Service, has launched its vinspired app for Android. Meanwhile, an iPhone version is already available and a BlackBerry version will be launched soon.

The app allows users to find volunteering opportunities by a post-code search or GPS and enables them to keep a record of their activity, upload pictures and apply for the vinspired awards.

Kieron Lyons, lead project worker at Clifton Road youth centre in the West Midlands, said: “The vinspired awards are a brilliant way for volunteers to get recognition for their achievements and it’s really easy to do on a mobile phone, which makes it accessible for all young volunteers, including those with disabilities.”

Damien Austin-Walker
Head of Online & Tech
TimeBank
2 Jun 2011

Sony have said that ultimately they "plan to release +U as an ‘open source' application for any organisation to use". There's more on YouthNet's own blog http://www.youthnet.org/2011/06/do-it-and-sony-bring-crowdsourced-idea-to-life/


Gail Hanlin
2 Jun 2011

Will either the +U or Vinspired app link to the other volunteering portals for Wales (www.volunteering-wales.net), Scotland (www.volunteerscotland.org.uk)or Northen Ireland (www.irelandinvolved.ie), or is it just Do-It? As someone who works in the sector in Wales, I have always been frustrated by Do It's promotion as the national site for volunteering information, where it really only covers England - there is nothing in any of the information about the new apps above that suggests they tie in to the other sites.... An individual searching for volunteering info in Wales on Do It is shown very limited opportunities, usually from national organisations. There is very poor signposting to the other sites / relevant volunteer centres.
It'd be great if this confusion about where to go for comprehensive information could finally be tackled, rather than further embedded as a problem...

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