Volunteer groups call for 'community bank holiday'
Britain's community spirit will be invigorated by a dedicated bank holiday, voluntary groups and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have claimed.
On the anniversary of legislation passing the first bank holiday in 1871, bodies including the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action argue that a new bank holiday in October would benefit the nation's health, skills and community cohesion.
In a letter to incoming prime minister Gordon Brown, the group point to research showing that 11 million people would volunteer and claim the profile of the 'third sector' would be boosted as a result.
"A community day is an excellent way to involve them to reduce crime, boost health, protect the environment and help young people to read and write," commented Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of Community Service Volunteers.
"What better way to bring people together to make a difference and strengthen our communities?" she asked.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the proposal "ticks all the right boxes", adding it would also bring Britain's public holiday "deficit" closer in line with the EU average. Currently the UK has three fewer days off.
"This is an idea whose time has come. It's a great opportunity for a new prime minister to make a mark in history," he said.