Thursday, 6 August 2015

Being a volunteer is

is apparently getting more and more difficult. I was talking to a member of my knitting guild yesterday and she mentioned that another member was no longer going to teach a class at a local council. 
It's one of those  useful "craft groups" set up to provide social support for vulnerable people. The person who has been running it was charging a very small fee for people to attend. I doubt it covered the expenses of running the group - some of the materials, getting there, tea and biscuits, and the other support provided.
Apparently the new rules imposed on the council mean that this person is now "self-employed". She has to have personal indemnity insurance and they are not permitted to pay for it even if they had the money. I doubt any council is going to consider the outlay for such a thing essential. 
If she "volunteered" she would be covered by their indemnity insurance. It also means there could be no charge for those attending that particular class.
Her view is that, however small the cost, paying something means that people will not only be more appreciative of what they are getting but they are more likely to attend. 
But, the group will cease. Other groups of a similar nature run by other councils will also cease. 
To date our council has not found an impediment towards the running of the monthly knitting group at the library. As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog that group is also a social support network. I run a similar group at the local bookshop. I don't get paid for teaching at either group. It's just volunteering. 
But, I am waiting for someone somewhere to decided that there is a problem with these things. I have known other groups which have had to stop because there were potential problems. Are there any woodworking groups of that nature left? I wonder if there are any gardening groups?
Litigation is an issue but it has become the overriding issue in many instances. The failure to do things for fear of litigation is causing more harm than litigation might. By doing all this we tell people they no longer need to take responsibility for themselves.
It means we all miss out in the end.

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