Fears expressed over voluntary commitment

AN ANGUS councillor has raised concerns about the level of commitment some of the ruling Angus Council administration are showing to thousands of volunteers in the county.

Donald Morrison (pictured) was one of only a handful of councillors at a volunteering event held specifically for elected members last week which many of them failed to attend.

Following the poor turnout at the Volunteer Centre Angus, the Arbroath councillor is urging senior administration elected members to engage with volunteers and local voluntary organisations ahead of the public sector budget cuts.

Mr Morrison said: “I appreciate that one or two within the 15 member Alliance administration could have had other engagements on the day but it was deeply disappointing that more councillors turned up to choose the new Christmas lights for Arbroath, the previous evening, than attended an event the next morning part of which included concerns for volunteering funding ahead of budget cuts.

“It questions the commitment of senior councillors within the administration to the vital part volunteering plays to our communities, society and the local economy.

“The value of volunteering to Angus is estimated at more than £30 million and nearly 28,000 adults volunteer throughout the county.

“With both the UK and Scottish Government pushing for more joint working relationships between the public and voluntary sector, it is vital the council talk to local voluntary organisations ahead of next month’s budget cuts.

Volunteering has been proven to have huge human benefits in helping people to overcome a number of issues such as offending and substance misuse.

However, there are concerns within the voluntary sector that there is little to no engagement between them and Angus Council.

Requests have been made by voluntary organisations to Angus Council to organise discussions into how the groups can help lessen the blow of the proposed £9 million reduction in the Council budget but these have gone unheeded for the most part.

Mr Morrison continued: “Working in partnership with the voluntary sector would reduce duplication and ease the burden on some Council departments already under pressure to meet the demands on services.

“The already valuable work from the voluntary sector will be more important to Angus than ever before and it is vital they are involved in shaping the future of service delivery for the people of Angus.”

A spokeswoman for Angus Council said: “Angus Council has regular liaison meetings with voluntary organisations throughout Angus to discuss contracts with them, and any financial matters relating to their contracts.”