To offer rewards to help increase volunteering for under-represented groups
My idea comes from a dissertation I wrote last year where I was researching into whether the community was effectively represented in Youth Offender Panels in the Restorative Justice process. What become obvious is certain groups were under-represented when it came to volunteering. The question I posed was how we could attract more young and ethnic minority volunteers into the process to make it more representative without eroding the value of volunteering.
One of my proposals was to reward volunteers by giving them discount on their council tax. For example, if someone volunteered more than 50 hours for the year they would get a 2 per cent discount on their council tax. Obviously, you could set the qualifying thresholds or discounts as low or high as you like.
The aim of the scheme would be help to increase volunteering and incentivise those groups who are under-represented. It also wouldn't impact on those residents already volunteering because it’s not a direct monetary payment. The example above would be easier to monitor within Youth Offender Panels, but it could be applicable to wider volunteering.
It would make Surrey a better place to live because you would get greater diversity in volunteers; volunteers would be more representative of the local community; it would help to link volunteering locally with a local recognition/reward; and help to reinforce a sense of community.