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Friday 08 May, 2009


Independent Evaluation Reveals Charity v's Posi...

LONDON, May 8 /PRNewswire/ --     The results of v's first independent 
evaluation are published
today - confirming that eighty-five percent of the investments made by the
youth volunteering charity between May 2006 and September 2008 could not have
taken place without v funding. The findings, delivered by independent
consultancy WM Enterprise, demonstrate the significant added value of v's
role in co-ordinating and commissioning youth volunteering programmes across
England, and confirm that there is little deadweight[1] across v's early

    The report also shows that v has significantly enhanced the
provision of volunteering opportunities for 16 - 25 year olds, with over
148,000 young people taking part in volunteering activities in the period
covered by the evaluation. Since then, v has continued to invest in the
sector and a total of 311,000 youth volunteering opportunities have been
completed to date, with a total of 875,000 commissioned.

    Headline findings of the independent evaluation
    - v funding has enabled the creation of large numbers of volunteering
    opportunities for young people that would not otherwise have been created
    - v has provided a broader set of opportunities for a wider audience. In
    many cases this has also led to the provision of high quality 
    volunteering opportunities
    - Opportunities have been filled by a relatively diverse group of young
    people, many of who had not volunteered previously or in many cases had
    not previously considered volunteering
    - Opportunities have been created by established organisations and also 
    by a wide range of new, small and community-based organisations that
    previously had limited capacity to accommodate young volunteers
    - v-funded volunteering opportunities have helped young people to develop
    'soft' skills such as confidence and self-esteem, raised aspirations,
    enhanced social skills and networks, communication and leadership skills,
    enabling young people to access new opportunities linked to education,
    training or employment.
    - It is clear that v's investments have led to a range of social and
    community-focused benefits, directly (e.g. environmental improvements)
    and/or indirectly (e.g. health and environmental awareness, or
    diversionary activities for young people).
    - There is very little deadweight within v's investments, with
    approximately 85% of funded organisations stating that their projects
    would not have taken place without v funding,

Commenting on the findings, v's Chairman Rod Aldridge said:

    "It's clear from this evaluation that there is much to
celebrate and be proud of. v has worked energetically to turn Ian Russell's
vision for a new national framework for youth action and engagement into
reality. We have harnessed the commitment of government, business, the third
sector and most importantly, young people themselves, helping to transform
communities across England. v is committed to growing these opportunities
further, learning from the past three years and looks forward to playing its
role in delivering a national youth volunteering service in the years to

MP Kevin Brennan said:

    "I welcome the findings from this first evaluation of v's work up to
2008. It clearly demonstrates the impact that v is making in providing a
large and diverse range of young people with compelling opportunities to
volunteer their time for the benefit of themselves and their communities."

    "I've seen first hand how volunteering can give young people the skills
and confidence that they need to fulfil their ambitions. v has created a step
change in youth volunteering and I hope that all young people will have the
chance to take these wonderful opportunities. I am very pleased that v has
accepted many of the recommendations as a positive way forward and look
forward to hearing about future successes."

    The evaluation report is available at
, and includes 13 key recommendations from the independent evaluators based
on the findings of the evaluation. v has also published a separate response
to these recommendations, outlining how the organisation will address and
learn from the first formal evaluation of its activities.

Case studies

Example case studies are included at the end of this press release.

Case Study examples from the independent evaluation

    a) v funding has had a significant strategic impact on the
Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB). Previously, the proportion of young volunteers
supported by CAB was limited, but now CAB offer provision and support that is
more attractive and relevant to young people aged 16 - 25. Feedback has
highlighted that without exception the young volunteers have enriched service
provision in the CAB offices in which they have been based, and bureau that
were not funded by v have now established their own youth volunteering

    b) Volunteer x felt that his volunteering opportunity with
Berkshire Scout Enterprises inspired him to train and look for work. Without
the opportunity he thinks he would have gone back into petty crime, and may
have ended up in more serious trouble. He feels that thanks to an increase in
confidence he raised his aspirations and for the first time thought he could
obtain, and hold down, a good job. He gained enough skills and good
references to get an interview with an electricity company, and now works
full-time as a street lighting operative.

    c) Naz Project London provides support for South Asian men from
the LGBT community. One young volunteer described the way in which
volunteering with the project gave him confidence when coming out to friends
and family. He described his volunteering experience as "giving him strength
to feel at peace with being gay and Asian." As a result of his volunteering
experience, he has also gained employment.

    d) The ITV Fixers project is supported financially by ITV, the
Nationwide Foundation, and delivered by The Public Service Broadcasting Trust
(PSBT). The project supports young people aged 16 - 25 to take action,
through media campaigns, on any issue they feel strongly about with the only
condition being that the subject area is of benefit to other people. It has
been stated that the length of time ITV has committed to broadcasting Fixers
films is almost unprecedented for a project of this nature and is therefore
testament to the success and value of the ITV Fixers project.

Notes to Editors

About v

    v is an independent charity launched in May 2006 as a result
of the Russell Commission report, A National Framework for Youth Action and

    v aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers (aged 16-25)
in England. We do this by funding voluntary organisations all over England to
create inspiring, diverse opportunities and by helping to overcome barriers
that stop people from taking action to improve lives, communities and the
planet. Our aim is to create a culture where volunteering comes naturally -
and where the benefits of volunteering are understood and celebrate.

    See for more information on what we
do and how we do it

About the independent evaluation conducted by WM Enterprise

    The evaluation was undertaken by WM Enterprise (WME), a social
and economic consultancy, and presents the main findings and recommendations
from an independent, objective study of the activities of v between May 2006
and December 2008. The evaluation comprised;

    - Review and analysis of management and financial information

    - In-depth interviews with key v staff and stakeholders

    - Detailed case studies of 19 v funded projects, comprising
    site visits, interviews and focus groups with project managers, 
    volunteers and community beneficiaries

    - Telephone survey of young volunteers who participated in the
    vcashpoint initiative

    The evaluation was guided by a highly successful Youth
Evaluation Panel, in order to ensure that the youth-led ethos of v was
replicated in the evaluation process.

    v has recently appointed the National Centre for Social
Research (NatCen) to conduct a formative evaluation of v's activities from
2008 - 2011.


    [1] Deadweight refers to the degree to which project activities would
have occurred anyway through statutory and other funding, regardless of
funding provided by v


a d v e r t i s e m e n t