Published: 19/08/2004, Volume II4, No. 5919 Page 29

Volunteering charity CSV is urging NHS trusts to set targets for 'citizen engagement' to tackle crime, health and social problems as part of a campaign of civic renewal.

Although the government already has a target of increasing voluntary and community sector activity by 5 per cent by 2006, CSV executive director Dame Elisabeth Hoodless says: 'Over 11 million people are waiting to be asked to volunteer but do not know how to get involved.

Our challenge is to make it easy for people to respond.'

Next year is the British Year of the Volunteer and CSV believes there could be government funding for two volunteering initiatives: first to encourage and extend mentoring; and second to encourage national community service by young people.

The CSV's capital volunteering creates the single largest drive for volunteers in the UK.

It aims to recruit up to 20,000 care programme approach mental health volunteers across London giving every mental health service user the opportunity to be matched with a volunteer 'buddy'.

www. csv. org. uk