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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 03:48 GMT
Brown encourages young volunteers
Chancellor Gordon Brown
Mr Brown: 'There is such a thing as society'
Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to increase the number of young people in volunteer work by a million.

Mr Brown, marking the Year of the Volunteer, will encourage Britain to continue the spirit of generosity shown after the Asian tsunami.

He plans to extend a pilot scheme where gap-year 18-year-olds receive financial support for doing voluntary work in their local communities.

He will also reveal that 81% of adult Britons donated to the tsunami appeal.

They donated an average of 1.65, compared with 43p a head in France and 58p in the US.

Three million young people already volunteer each year, with 41% involved in formal voluntary work schemes.

As part of a push to encourage young people to spend their gap year doing volunteer work, he will call on businesses to join the government in providing a funding package.

I sense a new spirit in Britain: that the people of Britain want this massive demonstration of generosity to be given enduring purpose
Gordon Brown

"Britain can be proud of its response to the tsunami appeal," Mr Brown will say on Monday.

"More people giving spontaneously than at any time and in any previous appeal.

"Men and women drawn closer than ever together by a shared determination to help, to care, to heal the wounds.

"I sense a new spirit in Britain: that the people of Britain want this massive demonstration of generosity to be given enduring purpose.

"That enduring purpose is to make it possible for more men and women - and especially young men and women - to engage in voluntary action nationally and internationally."

Sri Lankan child waits for food in a camp for tsunami survivors
The tsunami prompted an outpouring of generosity

He will also say he wanted to set a "practical aim" of getting the majority of young people to do volunteer, with 1 million new young volunteers over the next five years.

Mr Brown also wants "new opportunities for short-term and for one-year national community service projects."

He will recall his Scottish childhood in Kirkcaldy, focussed on home, church, local clubs and institutions plus "the idea of neighbourliness woven into the way we led our lives".

He adds: "There is such a thing as society...a Britain energised by a million centres of neighbourliness and compassion that together embody that very British idea - civic society."

With Gift Aid, which allows charities to claim an extra 28p for each pound donated by taxpayers, and VAT relief on tickets for the Millennium Stadium concert in Cardiff, the tsunami charity record and other fund-raising activities, Mr Brown will say the government has given more than 35m on top of its official aid contributions.


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