The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Recent legal notices ‘may leave voluntary organisations unable to operate’

Monday, 19 April 2021, 18:44 Last update: about 22 days ago

Recent legal changes have left small voluntary organisations with no choice but to stop operating, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, Andrew Azzopardi, has said.

In a press release published on Monday, Azzopardi said that the Faculty of Social Wellbeing is in close collaboration with the voluntary sector and recently held a meeting with around 70 people to discuss how recent legal notices regulating public fundraising activities and charity shops to undertake fundraising activities has affected the voluntary sector as a whole.

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The 70 or so people included representations of diverse voluntary organisations, including activism, social services, sports, politics and the environment.

From the dialogue, it was deduced that these representatives perceived the legal notices as “restrictive, excessively bureaucratic and not reflective of what is going on in the sector”, Azzopardi said.

“The procedures that these legal notices are imposing will seriously limit the efforts of non-government sectors, so much so that small organisations will have no choice but to stop operating”, Azzopardi wrote.

He said that the sector is not getting the appreciating that it deserves from the government and is not being recognized for its efforts.

The lack of collaboration and trust between the Government and the sector is reflected in the fact that there was no consultation about these legal notices from beforehand, Azzopardi continued.

If non-governmental organisations weaken, Azzopardi said that opportunities amongst youths; the chance for one to fights for their own beliefs and important causes; and the services these organisations provide will all be lost, both at the expense of the organisations themselves and also the government.

In response to the legal notices, Azzopardi said that the Faculty asks that “these legal notices be removed immediately and that consultation is held to discuss adequate solutions”.

It also asks the government that voluntary organisations are consulted before measures are taken in the future and that the sector is regarded as an important voice in Maltese society.

Without the voluntary sector, Maltese society will be “poorer and more passive”, Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi also urged the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector to increase its efforts and act as a space for dialogue between voluntary organisations at this time.

 

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