'Stop accusing volunteers of replacing paid staff; those jobs are never coming back'

29 Sep 2016 News

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive, Volunteering Matters

People should stop moaning about volunteers replacing paid staff because those jobs are never coming back, the chief executive of Volunteering Matters said earlier this week. 

Oonagh Aitken was speaking at an evening reception hosted by Acevo at the Labour Party Conference earlier this week, when she said that the contribution of volunteers should be properly valued by the sector. 

“One of the criticisms meted out at our part of the sector is that volunteers are replacing paid staff,” she told the audience, “I would put it to you that the jobs they’re doing are never going to return under any administration.”

She added that what volunteers do is “complementary” to paid staff and that “our volunteers do fabulous work”. She said itis import to “value the work that staff and volunteers do”.

Aitken also said that the sector has a role to play following Brexit, which had exposed intergenerational and social tensions. 

“What role can volunteers and volunteering play in improving that [the situation]?” she asked, and said that “giving someone a sense of community” can help to speed up the healing process.

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