Has Voluntary community Service been lost forever?


War Hero
When I was a youngster growing up in the late 50s early 60s there seemed to be a large number of adult volunteers willing to help out with youth organisations.
I belonged to the Boy Scouts, The Boys Club and a youth club. My sister belonged to a youth club and some girly organisation. These organisations were run by adult members of the community, and were well attended. These volunteers carried out these often onerous duties in their spare time and without any financial recompense.
When in later life my kids needed to go to these clubs I volunteered my services and helped with mini rugby and the local boys brigade.
So have the days of the unpaid volunteer come to an end?
I have noticed job adverts in my local paper advertising for paid youth workers so that youth clubs can be kept open.
Has anyone else noticed this? Is the modern parent too busy working to pay the mortgage to help out?
I think, and it may be a sweeping generalisation, that people are too scared of being labelled as kiddy fiddlers to start giving time to things like the scouts etc...
There are still plenty up here Slim, but yes the traditional organisations like youth clubs and scouts etc are having difficulties for two reasons, one parents are quite happy to pay good money to some one to take little johnny or Jenny of their hands, but have no desire to actually do anything themselves, and at the same time the general opinion that youth volunteers are kiddie fiddlers, especially if they are male, and the child protection disclosures are forcing many potential volunteers away.

Having said that my wifes grandson is in one of the local football clubs and their award evening has become so big that this year it will be split by age as there will be too many to get every one in in one evening.

I also think part of the problem is that youth clubs and socuts etc are just not as popular with todays youngsters and perhaps we need to be a bit more creative with what is offered. Perhaps a club that taught how to get into locked cars and hotwire them would get more support, or perhaps lock picking. Seriously though I think some of the things we did as yousters just don't cut much ice with kids today and perhaps that is where the challenge lies.
Even before I left the UK I must admit that being a white male over the age of forty I would be very loathed to even assist a child in distress unless I had a witness with me preferably female.

In todays blame and compensation culture I fail to understand why any person would take on youth work or as a teacher supervise school trips.

If you ain't there you cannot be blamed.



War Hero
I think Nutty that you have just put it into a nutshell. It isn't so much a lack of volunteers but the compensation culture which prevents good citizens from volunteering.
I happily did 12 years voluntary service starting a couple of national medical charities, but I refused point blank to have anything to do with anyone under the age of 18. I sought parent volunteers for that.

I'm not at all surprised that men do not volunteer for ANY work with children, whether paid such as being a teacher, or unpaid voluntary work. Those who do, IMO need their heads examining!!! In Bromley it is assumed that the only men who choose to work with children are probably paedophiles. If you're not heterosexual ANY kind of contact with children in any capacity isn't worth the risk of the accusation being levelled at you, as most politically active Christians in Bromley - and they form a significant part of the local electorate, support local councillors who openly correlete homosexuality with paedophilia.


Lantern Swinger
G'day all.

What Nutty said is very true, my Grandson was wanting to go to the local school disco, he's only seven and with his Dad otherwise occupied for six months, in the land of the men with towels round their heads and AK 47's, his Mum was busy that evening, I said Ohh mate don't worry I'll take you.

Ten minutes after I had a wee thought about it, I had to say to my wife, would she come with me other wise I would have had to renege, for the same reason Nutty stated, I could imagine me with good intentions watching the wee fella enjoying himself. All or at least some-one would immediately think that Old *astard is perving on these wee lassies or boys. I shudder to think how that could spread round an area. Glad to report that I am not going now, Granny is herself. What a state the world is now, when you are afraid to help kids. :tp: :tp: :tp: :tp:

I used to do my bit for the community, running Scouts, until I finally worked out that the same kids were always left behind and not being picked up until after ten thirty, After Mum and Dad dropped them off they went to the local , and were there until they felt like leaving, then that's when they came for the boys. They weren't interested in the boys learning anything, we were free baby sitters

I even found we were used like this in the local Lions Club.

Anybody who does voluntary work nowadays for the sake of doing it deserves recognition from the commiunity, instead of the vilification that is often levelled at them.


slim said:
I think Nutty that you have just put it into a nutshell. It isn't so much a lack of volunteers but the compensation culture which prevents good citizens from volunteering.
Being involved on the fringes of amateur sport which I include in the voluntary side as it doesn't happen unless people do the organisation for free, I do not think the compensation culture is the biggest problem. It is partly down to greater affluence, and more people prepared to pay for services rather tha act in a cooperative manner. If for example there is a local youth club too many parents would rather pay every time Johnny/Jeanie goes and not get involved themselves and have a 'trained disclosed etc ' person in charge rather than a well meaning group of parents including themselves. In some sectors the need for 'approved' leaders and helpers is still not there, but many organisations do have to have such people and many are just not prepared to go through the process.

I can only say my family has done it's bit, I have acted as unpaid construction labour at every sailing club I have been a member off, and still do committee work, one son is an ex venture scout and mountain leader, the other helps with his running club and my daughter is a principla sailing instructor and currently commodre of our club. The voluntary sector is alive but struggling against a background of over regulation, red tape, appathy (I can pay so why bother) and suspicion. Many can cope with the compensation bit through insurance, and sensible planning.

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