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Current projects 

The volunteering pledge

Shaping the Future with Volunteering has called on Parliamentary Candidates to support a’ Volunteering Pledge’ setting out five aims:

  1. Volunteering is the backbone of our society. It brings people together, promotes social cohesion and is good for the individual’s physical and mental well-being as well as the cause they are supporting.
  2. Volunteering depends on a well resourced and sustained voluntary sector made up of organisations of all sizes. Both local and central governments should do everything they can to enable the sector to flourish.
  3. Volunteering should be available to all. Every effort should be made to ensure there is access to volunteering opportunities whatever your background and individual circumstances.
  4. Governments should encourage volunteering as a way of developing social, personal and wider skillbase that increase employability.
  5. The Big Help Out should be supported as a national initiative that each year reaches out to people not currently volunteering.

In addition, we asked Parliamentary Candidates to support volunteering once more by joining in Volunteers Week (June 3-9) and Big Help Out (June 7-9) activity in their constituency and to share their intentions on social media.

Volunteer surveys

Many national charities conduct regular surveys to find out more about their volunteers and the experiences they have. Shaping the Future members are developing some shared questions that can be asked through the separate individual surveys. We’ll then pool the results. It will provide a much larger survey across the charities of volunteer experience. This can inform individual planning by the charities as well as informing the shared actions of Shaping the Future.


Two research projects are being developed:

  1. In collaboration with Community Action Bradford & District and British Future, it will be looking at how diverse communities see national voluntary organisations and what barriers there are to getting involved as volunteers. The Shaping the Future members will then be able to look at how to adapt themselves to increase accessibility and engagement with communities where they are currently not well represented.
  2. In collaboration with Belong, it will review the evidence that volunteering helps increase social cohesion and develop guidance on how to promote this positive impact. Both research projects are currently securing funding.

Rural volunteering

Many rural communities have strong traditions of mutual aid and support and this was well demonstrated in the response to the COVID pandemic. This project looks at best practice examples of Shaping the Future members supporting volunteers in rural areas. Advised by an expert panel, recommendations will look at how to further develop the connection with people living in rural areas and their opportunities to volunteer.

Disabled people volunteering

Shaping the Future in partnership with Spirit of 2012 is looking at how to enhance the volunteering opportunities for disabled people. Evidence will be drawn together from members looking at what can be achieved. The project will challenge assumptions and recommend what needs to be different to make volunteering more accessible and engaging for disabled people.

Government engagement

Shaping the Future provides a forum for ongoing dialogue with government departments on how to support and promote volunteering. This includes discussions with Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; Child Maintenance Service; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Department of Work & Pensions; Department of Health & Social Care and the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS).

For more information 

Contact Jez Hughes CBE, Convenor, on 07957 334 675 or email