28 May 2012 – Sewa Day, the global volunteering network, has pulled out of a high profile government initiative ‘A Year of Service’ (AYOS). AYOS was set up to engage Britain’s communities, during the course of the Queen’s Jubilee year, through faith based volunteering projects. 

Sewa Day has been calling for clarity on the purpose of a £65,000 funding award to the Jewish led Mitzvah Day, whose lead is the chair of the AYOS organising committee. However, after failing to receive any financial breakdown, Sewa Day has pulled out from the social action initiative.  

Arup Ganguly, Chairman of Sewa Day, said: “We are committed to the highest levels of accountability and transparency, and it's unacceptable that the Department of Local Communities & Government isn’t too. For a number of months we have been seeking clarity but we have been stonewalled and are extremely disappointed that we have still not received any financial breakdown for this initiative.”
“£65,000 is a lot of money in these austere times. Given that all of the AYOS group members are funding their own AYOS activities, it’s puzzling that the Government has allocated such a large amount of taxpayer money to the project organiser?”
“We don’t have a problem if taxpayer monies are being utilised for the benefit of all groups taking part and their underlying communities but despite asking we have been told that we will not receive any detailed answers. This is unacceptable. We have a commitment to our stakeholders to maintain the highest levels of governance and as the one response we’ve had so far does not satisfy us, we have no choice but to disassociate ourselves from this initiative.”

Arjan Vekaria, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, gave reassurance that the Hindu community will still mark the Diamond Jubilee. He added: “Despite pulling out of this initiative, Hindus will still actively celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Our plans are still on course and we will not detract from celebrating the Queen’s remarkable service to the Commonwealth, which has inspired so many to become involved in worthy causes across the United Kingdom.

Please read the blogpost, which provides a more comprehensive account of why Sewa Day has pulled out: