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‘At least I can do something’: the work of volunteering in a community beset by worklessness

Baines, Susan and Hardill, Irene (2008) ‘At least I can do something’: the work of volunteering in a community beset by worklessness. Social policy and society, 7 (3). pp. 307-317. ISSN 1474-7464

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Abstract

The voluntary sector has been mainstreamed into public policy with consequences that include more reliance upon the time, commitment and skills of volunteers. In many policy initiatives to combat social exclusion, volunteering is cast as a form of self-improvement and re-training for the workforce. Qualitative research in a disadvantaged community, however, uncovered the persistence of more traditional forms of volunteering associated with mutual support and identification with the needs of others. Policies intended to broaden the base of the volunteer workforce need to recognise and nurture the intrinsic rewards of volunteering.

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