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Wiltshire to offer real rewards in a bid to attract community volunteers

Real rewards are to be given to community volunteers in Wiltshire as part of a ground-breaking scheme the county has been asked to pilot by the government.

The county is one of only three areas in England that will trial the scheme, the aim of which is to attract more volunteers by awarding them with “time credits” -- one credit for every one hour they give to the community.

That credit can then be used by them, or a friend or relative, to “spend” with partner organisation, giving volunteers a chance to visit a bowling alley, a concert or perhaps going to the cinema.

Alternatively, volunteers can donate their credits for the wider community to gain such as covering the cost of child-minding or paying for a training course.

The government has invested £400,000 in the time credit pilots which Wiltshire will benefit from, the council itself setting aside £100,000 towards the programme as part of the council's investment for the future budget expenditure.

The two-year trial is part of the government’s White Paper called Giving, whose aim is to make it easier and more attractive for people to donate to charity and become volunteers.

John Thomson, Wiltshire’s deputy leader, says: “I am delighted that Wiltshire has been chosen to pilot this exciting and innovative scheme in England.  Volunteers are the bedrock of our community and it is essential we find ways of not only keeping the volunteers we have but also attracting new volunteers.”

 “Time credits not only thank people for the work they do, but encourages new volunteers to help many other people in the community.”

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