16 December 2015
You may have caught this thought provoking radio programme with the Bank of England's Chief Economist Andy Haldane.
On one hand, it's good that the economic value of volunteering is being measured and that a light is being shone on volunteering as a whole, through an authoritative voice.
However, there is also a danger in seeing volunteering boiled down to pounds, shillings and pence in an "unpaid work" mindset- it's so much more, and the link to well being is much more significant. Furthermore, the old rhetoric of 'volunteer army' whilst somewhat excused by an economist used to measuring a workforce, does not accurately represent volunteering in the 21st century.
An 'army of volunteers' can easily forget the individual, their needs and motivations. There are no conscripts to call on when numbers decline. As a positioning piece this has true merit. As another programme from the BBC with a volunteering theme it should be similarly applauded.
Volunteering should no longer be Britain's best kept secret. I'm all for a volunteering nation.
Listen here to this BBC Radio 4 programme Volunteer Nation