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May 01, 2009 11:04 ET

v Supports Government on Expansion of Community Service for 14-19 Year Olds

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 1, 2009) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.

v, the independent charity that aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers (aged 16-25) in England, is supporting the government with its new plans to help get every young person in the country contributing to their communities.

In a series of announcements set out by the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Liam Byrne and the Schools Minister Jim Knight, the government has announced its ambition that, in time, all young people will contribute at least 50 hours of community service by the age of 19. In developing these proposals the Government has said that v will be at the heart of achieving this goal and that it will build on v's existing work with 16 to 25 year olds.

v will be exploring with the Government how best to harness existing expertise and involve its local infrastructure of vinvolved groups across England. v has also developed the vinspired awards scheme- an online recognition initiative for young people to record their volunteering experience and to gain recognition for hours volunteered, skills developed and community impact. v will be working with Government to extend the scheme to cater for a wider age range of 14-16 year olds.

Commenting on the Governments ambitions to expand Community Service for 14-19 year olds, Terry Ryall, v Chief Executive said:

"At v, we know from our experience of creating compelling opportunities for the over 16s to serve their communities that there is an appetite amongst a younger age range to get involved. We also know from our work with the private sector that they have an appetite to support such activities in schools and with young people from aged 14. I welcome the longer term intent to make it compulsory for schools to offer community service as part of citizenship learning and development of pupils. A lot of the work that v has done already could support this growth of service in schools. The offer of a community service placement as a post-16 option is something we proposed to Government 2 years ago and we're delighted to see it come to fruition."

Charlotte Sutton, aged 16, member of v20, v's youth advisory board said:

"I volunteered as a mentor for young students at my school and with a local primary school to encourage students to exercise. I'm now volunteering through v and am absolutely loving it. Giving back to the community gives me a real buzz. I'm now part of v20, v's youth advisory board because it's a brilliant way to show people that teenagers are not all self absorbed and rude but have so much to offer."

v welcomes the embedding of community service in the education system which will create a volunteering ethos amongst a wider pool of young citizens. v is well on the way to delivering on a number of the recommendations of the Russell Commission to create a 'step change' in youth volunteering. The Government has responsibility for recommendation 4. v is pleased that these new announcements go some way to delivering on recommendation 4 which states that it should be commonplace for young people to volunteer whilst they are at school, college or in HE. v looks forward to working in partnership with Government, young people, local authorities, schools and other voluntary and community organisations for the benefit of young people and their communities.

If you are interested in an interview or comment from Terry Ryall v's Chief Executive or Charlotte Sutton member of v20, v's youth advisory board please do not hesitate to call:

Emily Ewart-Perks or Pippa Bruce at Shine Communications on 020 7100 7100

Emily.ewart-perks@shinecom.com /pippa.bruce@shinecom.com

Notes to Editors: about v

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 celebrated.

To do this we have two major streams of activity: as a volunteering founder; and as a central point of contact for all 16-25s.

Working in partnership with over 500 voluntary, community and public sector organisations more than 311,000 young people aged 16-25 years have taken part in volunteering funded by v. And that figure is set to grow to more than a million with 875,000 opportunities already commissioned by v.

- In addition, we have attracted over Pounds Sterling 35m from the private sector.

- http://www.vinspired.com is our consumer facing brand and a place where people can search for local volunteering opportunities and share experiences using online tools including blogging and video. The site is constantly evolving and strives to challenge the traditional perceptions of volunteering trough its look, feel, language and usability.

- v has also provided a national framework to deliver a local service, by introducing 107 vinvolved teams (one in each local authority area across England) to act as central hubs within the community for potential volunteers, businesses, charities and other local networks.

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

vinspired Awards Scheme has developed the vinspired Awards Scheme which is an online recognition scheme for young people to record their volunteering experience and to gain recognition for hours volunteered, skills developed and community impact. The vinspired Awards Scheme has been established in order to allow young people to develop transferable, employability skills, which they may not have gained through formal education. www.vinspired.com/awards. Dragon's Den mentor James Caan supports v and endorses the vinspired Awards Scheme.

See http://www.vinspired.com for more information on what we do and how we do it.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

http://www.marketwire.com/library/20090501-terry_ryan_800.jpg

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