Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 19 May, 2005

Written Answers. - Voluntary Sector.

  30. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress which has been made in the implementation of the White Paper on Supporting Voluntary Activity; if a review of the implementation of the White Paper has been completed; the main findings of this review; if he remains committed to fully implementing all aspects of the White Paper; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16674/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern: In relation to progress in implementation of the White Paper the following is the position: under the funding scheme to support the role of federations, networks and umbrella bodies, 32 groups are currently being funded totalling €5.48 million over three years. Under the funding scheme for training and supports, 20 projects are currently being funded totalling €1.83 million over three years. The national anti-poverty networks are being funded to a total of €4.1 million [1605] over three years. The Department is funding volunteering through its existing grants to three volunteer groups totalling €829,595 over a three year period.

In the new volunteering package, which I announced in March 2005, core funding will be provided to six further volunteer bureaux totalling €900,000 over the next three years. Funding, totalling €150,000 over three years, is being provided to Volunteer Centres Ireland for recruitment of a development officer. A further €500,000 of local area partnership funding is being ring-fenced for measures that encourage volunteers and volunteering. A further €500,000 of the Department’s Cohesion Fund will be spent on measures that will promote volunteers and volunteering locally. Funding, totalling €600,000, is being provided to support the young social innovators programme including the Annual Showcase awards, over three years. Funding, totalling €330,000 over three years, is also being provided to the DIT community learning programme, CLP, which is an example of a new teaching method called service-learning, and it works by integrating classroom learning in any subject with suitable volunteering activity.

The Combat Poverty Agency on behalf of the Implementation Advisory Group has been asked to prepare a manual of best practice principles based on appendices 2 and 3 of the White paper. The objective is to produce a practical guide based on these principles. A consultant was engaged to prepare this manual. The draft manual is under consideration in my Department.

The White Paper provides for a review of the Implementation Advisory Group and as part of that process my Department is currently examining practical measures to further advance key principles as set out in the White Paper.

As I previously stated, in my reply to Question No. 63 of 14 December 2004 the White Paper remains Government policy. However, the context in which White Paper policy is to be implemented has clearly changed with time. Hence, while the broad principles of the White Paper remain, it is appropriate that the mechanisms for addressing these be adjusted to appropriately reflect wider developments including contextual, programme and structural changes.

Question No. 31 answered with Question No. 19.