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TUC Calls for October Bank Holiday


The TUC has joined forces with voluntary bodies to call for a new October bank holiday to promote community activity and involvement.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Community Service Volunteers, Volunteering England and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action have joined the TUC to make the call in a letter to Gordon Brown and other politicians, and in a joint statement.

They say that a new bank holiday should be used to help build the government’s "vision of a society where voluntary activity flourishes and where all individuals and communities are enabled to play a full part in civil society", and would complement existing well-established initiatives.

The groups say the day could be used to:

  • Encourage people to volunteer and get involved with community groups and activities – not just on the day, but on a continuing basis.

  • Provide an opportunity for community and voluntary groups to publicise their work and develop new activities to engage their communities.

  • Provide an opportunity for society as a whole to recognise the importance of the often unsung efforts of volunteers and community groups and the role they play in promoting the diversity and variety which is such a great strength of the UK's civil society.

  • Give an opportunity for voluntary groups to have days of action and local communities to hold gala days and other ways of increasing and celebrating community spirit.
  • The extra community activity and skills development would offset the costs of an extra day off as the Home Office's citizenship survey estimates that the current level of volunteering is worth more than £40 billion a year in England alone, and CSV research shows that two-thirds of first time volunteers go on to volunteer again.

    Britain currently has fewer bank holidays than the EU average and the groups suggest that the best time for such a holiday would be at the end of October, coinciding with the normal half term break and in the middle of the longest current gap between bank holidays.

    TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is an idea whose time has come. It ticks all the right boxes. It will encourage more community involvement, celebrate our shared values as a nation, and help meet the holiday gap between Britain and the rest of Europe, but in a constructive way."


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