Volunteer Peak Bodies to Amalgamate into New Funding Model
23 February 2012 at 11:03 am
Funding for Volunteering Australia and state and territory peak bodies will be amalgamated into a new National Project Fund under new funding arrangements announced by the Federal Government.
The new funding arrangement replaces a 20 year old funding model called the Volunteer Management Program (VMP).
In November 2011 the Federal Government published its National Volunteering Strategy which was the product of a two year consultation with the sector and outlined a roadmap for volunteering to 2021.
The Strategy identified a range of challenges and trends in the volunteering sector and ways to address them but did not specifically include the option of amalgamation under a new funding arrangement.
The new Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler says the new funding arrangements encourage greater innovation and collaboration in volunteering by creating more flexible funding, and by devoting funding to projects which can support volunteers on the ground.
Under the new funding arrangements the Government says:
- Funding for Volunteer Resource Centres (VRCs) in capital cities will be targeted to ensure these services are focused in locations where they help to build capacity in disadvantaged communities.
- The 32 regional VRCs will continue to be funded to operate in regional Australia, and their funding will be guaranteed for a period of 3 years (up from the current 12 months).
- The Fund will support the development of high quality training, support, tools, resources and advocacy for volunteers across the country.
“The changes to our volunteering programs will direct funding to where it is needed most, and where it will have maximum impact,” Butler said.
The chief executive of Volunteering Australia Cary Pedicini says he is reviewing the announced changes to volunteer funding.
“VA is meeting with the Minister next week to discuss the changes and to seek more details of the funding criteria and program guidelines,” he said.
The Federal Government says a grants funding round will open in March 2012 for capital city VRCs in targeted locations. Funding for existing VRCs will continue until new services commence operation from 1 October 2012.
It says the first National Project Fund grants round will open in April 2012, with projects selected by the end of September 2012. Organisations with relevant experience, and consortia with expertise in developing tools and resources, are encouraged to apply to the Fund.
Volunteering Victoria chief executive Dianne Embry has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a new funding model for volunteering services.
“The existing federal funding model for volunteering has been in operation for 20 years so inevitably there is room to reflect and to refresh. Volunteering Victoria welcomes this chance for the volunteering sector to blow away any cobwebs – the result will be stronger, more targeted support for Victorian volunteers and the organisations and communities that depend on them," Embry said.
Some local volunteer organisations have expressed concern at their ability to compete for funds against the bigger volunteer organisations under the new funding arrangements.
A spokesperson for the Minister's office says the fund will provide $4.48 million over the period 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2015 to support the development of high quality training, support, tools, resources and advocacy for volunteers across the country.
The spokesperson says Volunteering Australia and State and Territory peaks are well placed to leverage their resources and relationships, form partnerships and propose collaborative projects for funding.
Project funding will be for up to two and a half years, to 30 June 2015, depending upon the activities involved.
For more information visit www.notforprofit.gov.au/volunteering/volunteer-management-program