From the TUC

Happy Community Day?

26 Oct 2009, by in Working Life

We have now truly bid farewell to summertime. The clocks have changed, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are starting to fall. Wouldn’t it be great if we had another bank holiday today to cheer us all up?

The TUC has joined together with the main voluntary organisations to call for a new bank holiday called ‘Community Day’, on the last Monday in October (i.e. it would be today if we had it this year) to celebrate volunteering and encourage people to take part in community events.

We think the new holiday should be introduced in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Paralympics with a fanfare to seal a triumphant year for volunteers across the UK. Here’s a joint letter we’ve sent to the press:

Monday (26th October) marks the halfway point between the August and Christmas bank holidays. We would like this four month gap to be broken with a new Community Day bank holiday in late October.

Over the last two years the recession has hit communities across the UK. When times are tough people look to friends, families and their local community for support.

Community spirit is a long standing and unsung British tradition. Millions of people across the UK volunteer and take part in community activities every week. Surveys show that volunteering contributes significantly to the UK economy, boosts people’s wellbeing, prevents isolation and makes them happy too.

We believe these efforts should be recognised, encouraged and celebrated. 2012 marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Paralympics – events only possible thanks to volunteers. This would be the perfect year to introduce a new Community Day bank holiday.

Yours,

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, Executive Director, Community Service Volunteers
Kevin Curley, Chief Executive, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action
Justin Davis Smith, Chief Executive, Volunteering England
Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

The TUC’s Brendan Barber said:

“Communities across the UK have been hit hard by the recession. When times are tough, people look to their friends, family and local communities for support. Millions of people support their local communities every week in some way or other and this work should be properly recognised and encouraged.

“With the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics to look forward to, 2012 is set to be a vintage year for volunteering. A new Community Day bank holiday would be the perfect way to celebrate the nation’s achievements and encourage more people to volunteer.”

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless of UK volunteering charity CSV said:

“Volunteers raise reading levels, help patients to eat, tackle child abuse by supporting families and reduce levels of crime. We know that two thirds of the thousands of people who volunteer every October for Make a Difference Day have never volunteered before and that two thirds of those who try it out go on to volunteer again. It’s clear there is untapped energy out there.”

“Eleven million people tell researchers they would volunteer if somebody asked them.  A Community Day bank holiday would help to attract even more people to give time to benefit others.”