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Westminster City Council first to go Local with Do-it.org

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London – 16th March 2016: Charities and social action campaigners today celebrated the official launch of a transformative new system designed to make it easier for Westminster residents to volunteer in their community at a time convenient to them.

Westminster City Council has become the UK’s first local authority to partner with Do-it.org, an online volunteering platform which connects people who want to do good things in their community with local causes and enables charities to list calls for help as they arise.

The partnership, which will also include the charity One Westminster, will use a brand new local version of the Do-it.org technology to match local volunteers with the right placement, enabling residents to identify local charities and not for profits in need of a helping hand in just a few clicks. Users are required to sign up to Team Westminster site as they would to use Facebook or Twitter, then they can create a profile to guide them towards the opportunity that is right for them.

Last year, nearly 5,000 Westminster residents registered with the national Do-it platform, accounting for about 4% of all Londoners using the site. The aim for the coming year is to grow that number by tailoring the opportunities to match local needs.

At an event in Paddington Arts this Wednesday, nearly 100 charities and volunteers gathered to new launch the new Westminster Volunteer Outreach and Development Service and discuss pressing issues including how small charities can make the best use of digital tools.

Do-it.org was the UK’s first digital volunteering service when it arrived in 2000. The platform was re-launched last year with a new look and new tech and since then has registered almost 160,000 new volunteers to support the 50,000 charities using the site who list nearly 1.5m volunteering spots available around the UK. Users can log on to seek out volunteering places near home or work and at a time that suits them, from running after-school clubs to helping out at pet hospitals.

Jamie Ward-Smith, Chief Executive at Do-it Trust, the charity behind the Do-it.org platform, said: ‘We use the internet for everything now, from booking taxis to finding places to stay abroad – there’s no reason volunteering should be the exception. We know many Westminster residents, like many Londoners, are time poor but still keen to help out. This partnership will offer them the tools to easily and efficiently connect with local volunteering opportunities that work for them. Equally, we know that many local charities need more volunteers than ever before. I’m delighted that they will now be able to use this new platform to connect them with a wider pool of good people in the local community.’

A spokesman for Westminster City Council said‘Our experience working with Do-it has been fantastic in helping us create our Local version of Do-it, volunteering is a key part of life and as a real enabler to support good causes in everyday life. Our ongoing relationship has been very rewarding and we look forward to continuing to work with the team.’

A spokesman for One Westminster, said‘Westminster is lucky to be the beneficiary of this new local volunteering website.  It is now even easier for local people to find the right volunteering opportunity.  Additionally, Team Westminster has great new features to help local voluntary and community groups find the volunteers they need and promote the work they do.  We think it will increase our capacity to engage those members of the community who face barriers to volunteering and free us up to support them through outreach and one-to-one sessions.’

Media Enquiries

For further information about Do-it, the Westminster partnerships, or for photographs, contact:

Notes to Editors

▪       The Team Westminster website can be accessed at: https://do-it.westminster.gov.uk/

▪       The partnership between the Do-It Trust and Westminster City Council will see the local charity One Westminster oversee the management of volunteering opportunities in the borough.

▪       One Westminster exists to serve the voluntary sector and volunteering in the City of Westminster.

▪       The Do-It Trust was set up in 2000 and first piloted in London that year. The national platform went live in 2001.

▪       About 1,000 volunteer opportunities are posted each week and about 5,000 are updated each week.

▪       @one_westminster @CityWestminster @doituk

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