A volunteering charity, vInspired, has launched a rewards card which aims to encourage more young people to volunteer by giving them benefitis and discounts for doing so.
The ‘Inspired Card’ forms part of the charity’s new Inspired Programme, which vInspired said marks a new chapter of digitally-enable volunteering. The programme aims to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to get involved in social action.
It was funded by a £1m partnership between vInspired and the #iwill Fund, alongside support from the Mayor of London. The card was launched last night at an event at City Hall.
The card, which is available to apply for online, will offer discounts on travel, culture in London, and across Europe.
The card will be associated with the European Youth Card, meaning that cardholders will get the benefits and discounts associated with that when travelling around across 36 European countries. Likewise, cardholders visiting from European countries will also be able to use the card in the UK.
Charity vInspired is the first European Youth Card Association partner in England although a similar partnership is running in Scotland, managed by Young Scot.
Jessica Taplin, chief executive of vInspired, said at the launch that the charity wants to “utilise the best technology” to connect charities, individuals and society.
She also said that the charity’s website will be changing over the next few months to become more of a matchmaking site for volunteers and opportunities, and away from a simple search function. She said that through this they will find out what interests potential volunteers and drives them, so they can be connected to the right opportunities.
She said: “We want to ensure that young people can access a wide range of discounts and incentives, depending on their personal motivators. We want to embed these in the volunteer journey, to encourage ongoing participation and help people access the experiences they need to help them build social capital.”
She added this they hope this will help attract people from a more diverse range of backgrounds into volunteering.
Taplin said at the launch that she sees vInspired role as being the “glue in the middle” between volunteers and the charities they volunteer for.
Taplin called on both charities and commercial organisations to partner with vInspired on the card, to both give volunteers the opportunities to work with different charities, and to gain benefits from doing so.
Matthew Ryder, deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, said at City Hall last night that he had come up with the concept of a card that you have when you volunteer that you can spend the credits for while out for a run in the years previous to its launch.
He said that there was a lot of people working on similar concepts, such as the Young Scot card, but that it needed someone, like a mayor, to bring it all together, and that they were able to partner with some “brilliant people” when doing so.
He added that it was something he was “really excited about and really pleased to be part of”.