Volunteer Cornwall says Olympics inspired 40% rise in members

A volunteer scheme in Cornwall has seen a 40% increase in the number of volunteers on its books since April.

Volunteer Cornwall, which runs centres and projects, said the increase had been "massive".

Chief executive, Ian Jones, said it was believed the Olympic Torch Relay, which started in Cornwall, and the 2012 Games had inspired people.

The organisation has 5,000 volunteers and 36 paid staff. Four staff-members have recently been made redundant.

Mr Jones said: "It seems that ever since the Olympic Torch started its journey in Cornwall, people have been inspired and wanted to get involved."

Support and Development Manager Andy Brelsford said the volunteers crossed the age spectrum and included the employed, unemployed, students and retired.

'Hard time'

He said: "We also promote the fact it can get you a better job, if you can't get the experience in your business then volunteering is another way to get experience of managing people or budgets."

Despite the increase in volunteers the organisation said it had made redundancies in its administration department to "cut costs".

Mr Brelsford said: "It means we'll have to reduce the opening hours, but we felt that was a better option than closing a whole volunteer centre."

He said it was most likely that opening hours at the volunteer centres in Liskeard, St Austell, Redruth and soon-to-be Truro, would reduce from five to four days a week, with Friday's being used for administration.

He added: "No matter how many volunteers we have we could always have more.

"Charities are hard pressed at the moment and there's a lot of demand on people, everybody who's connected with helping people are having a hard time."

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