YOUNG people across the borough will have the chance to boost their skills through volunteering, thanks to a new campaign.

Dudley Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS) and Dudley Council have teamed up to introduce Youth Pledge 100, a drive to encourage 100 organisations to provide volunteering opportunities for those aged 15 to 25, throughout June.

The campaign was launched after Dudley CVS released figures which showed that in 2013/14, 94 young people approached the volunteering body to offer their services free of charge to local organisations - but during this period only two vacancies existed.

Eileen Fielding, development officer at Dudley CVS, said: “There are a whole lot of myths that exist which prevent organisations from giving young people volunteering opportunities, and we want to use this campaign to bust them.

“Common misconceptions include that young volunteers don’t add value. But we know from long experience that this is usually far from the truth. Most of our clients who take on young volunteers tell us that they conduct tasks that others don’t have the time for, and often have skills which don’t exist in-house, such as in social media.

“Another misunderstanding is that organisations are not allowed to give young people employment, whether paid or not. This is not true. As long as your insurance does not prevent it, every organisation can benefit from the enthusiasm that young volunteers can provide.”

The new Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Margaret Aston, who will be handed the chain of office at a Mayor making ceremony tonight (Thursday) launched the campaign and was the first person to make the pledge when she committed the council to providing volunteering opportunities.

Cllr Aston, who is the council’s volunteering champion, said: “With youth unemployment so high, it is more important than ever for young people to have solid CVs and work experience and often the only way that they can achieve this is through volunteering.

“Our volunteers have added value to our operations, giving us time and skills that we wouldn’t otherwise have benefited from. I urge others to give young people the chance to volunteer. It helps you and the young person. It is a win-win situation.”

Councillor Pete Lowe, deputy leader of the council, added: “As a community council we are pleased to create opportunities for young people to hone their skills and get a taste of work life.

"I very much hope that other organisations will follow our lead and help us and Dudley CVS achieve our 100 volunteer opportunity target.”

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