My attention was drawn to the issue of just what those on benefits can or cannot do vis-a-vis volunteering by John Hemmings post. He is concerned about the issue of expenses for those on benefits who are volunteering and specifically the statement that those on benefits "won't be able to claim for buying lunch" because "the amount of Income Support or Job Seekers allowance you get is already meant to cover the cost of your basic needs including lunch".
I start off from a very simplistic view of the world in that I believe that volunteering is a good thing. One charity I have been involved with in the past could not deliver anywhere near the level of services it does without the help of all the wonderful volunteers who give up their time. For many volunteers the act of volunteering also has a beneficial impact on their own development at the same time as assisting the charity. I know of volunteers who have developed so far that they have gone on to full time paid employment in the same charity.
So it now appears that if you give a volunteer expenses to cover the cost of their lunch that money will be deducted from their benefits. This is mad given that they may incur additional costs through purchasing lunch where they are volunteering rather than making themselves something at home. Of course charities can presumably get round this by providing food and drink for their volunteers instead of paying expenses but that of course assumes that they have already got the volunteer through the door. Alternatively of course they may have decided not to wade through the 49 page document from the DWP and may have given up on the idea of volunteering completely!!