A significant group of community transport providers in CTA’s (Community Transport Association) membership are reporting that they are struggling to recruit and retain volunteers. One of main reasons they are hearing is that drivers feel the reimbursement rate has diminished in value and has disincentivised volunteering.
CTA has been calling for an immediate review of the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment rates (AMAP) that can be claimed by volunteers, due to its growing impact on volunteer recruitment and retention and what that means for people who rely on Community Transport. They believe the time is right for a review since the last review was in 2012 and according to the RAC the cost of driving has increased by 25% in that period, even before the current cost of living crisis people are facing.
They have the support of a number of large volunteering-based charities across the UK which this issue also impacts including; Volunteer Now , Volunteering Matters and NCVO and they’re calling on other charities with this issue to get in touch and join the campaign. You can get involved by emailing them at [email protected].
CTA two weeks ago had a successful meeting with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) who have agreed to take their call for a review forward to HMRC. DCMS understood when CTA told them the value of volunteering drivers and how volunteer car schemes are one of the most cost-effective means of enabling people with mobility difficulties to retain their freedom and independence. DCMS were clear in highlighting these services as an essential part of the transport system in helping people access vital public services, particularly to NHS appointments. That is why it is vital that a review is undertaken by HMRC to ensure these vital services and their volunteer drivers can afford continue and do not diminish any further.
How you can help:
To strengthen the conversation with these key decision makers, CTA needs to gather as much information from across the UK on the impacts of the current AMAP rate on the recruitment and retention of volunteers. They ask you to please complete their survey, which should only take 5-6 minutes to do.
You can also write to your local MP to help us to pressure the UK Government to act. To find yours, follow this link: Find your MP – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament. To make the process as easy as possible they have included a template letter. When you do write to your local MP, please let them know – they would be very interested to hear how you get on and help with any further responses if needed. You can reach them at [email protected]