Young People Twice As Likely As Adults to Volunteer
8 February 2017
Volunteer Scotland found that 52% of young people volunteered in
the last year, compared to only 27% of adults.
In a survey carried out by by Ipsos-Mori of people aged 11-18 on
behalf of the organisation, it was found that 146,000 had formally
volunteered with one in three doing so at least once a month.
Overall that's an increase of 19% from 2009.
Researchers found that youth volunteering is much more inclusive
than was expected.
The proportion of young people who volunteer in school time, such
as at lunch clubs, in the most deprived areas is the same as the
least deprived areas (both 33%) and volunteering participation by
those with a physical or mental health condition is greater than
young people generally.
However, the research identified some significant challenges.
Volunteering participation outside school, such as fundraising for
a youth group, declines dramatically in areas of deprivation with
50% of young people who go to a school with no pupils in the lowest
group in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation volunteering
compared to 16% of those who are from a school where at least 60%
of pupils come from the lowest group in the index.
Those living in rural areas (65%) are more likely volunteer than
those in urban areas (49%) and 58% of girls volunteer compared to
just 46% of boys.
Matthew Linning, head of research at Volunteer Scotland, said the
report on the whole was good news and suggested there are likely to
be a number of factors behind the big increase such as incentives
offered by the likes of the Saltire Awards and Duke of Edinburgh,
young people being encouraged to volunteer by parents and teachers
and young people looking to gain skills and experience for their CV
in an increasingly tight job market.
This appears to be backed up by the researchers' findings that
volunteering participation more than halves to 24% for the 25 - 34
"Clearly, some factors would appear unique to youngsters
'preparing' for a career," he said.
"Once employed the 'career' drivers are significantly reduced.
Also, there is no teacher influence once out of school and the
influence of family members also declines as young people
"However, it is clear that there has also been a significant amount
of targeted support to influence young people to volunteer, through
awards, bespoke programmes, etc.
"Therefore, perhaps there is a case for more policy interest and
funding to support an increase in adult volunteering. We know that
the benefits can be far reaching and the impacts profound
especially for those who are the most disadvantaged in
Commenting on the report Barry Fisher, director DofE Scotland
welcomed it saying it builds on other recent research into youth
volunteering and the strong engagement young people are showing in
their communities. He called on more to be done to close the gap in
attainment for rural and disadvantaged young people.
"We welcome the positive findings of the recent Volunteer Scotland
report," he added.
"It is our experience at the DofE that young people can get
involved in interesting and relevant volunteer opportunities when
great adults support them.
"Importantly, the Volunteer Scotland report finds that there is a
gap in attainment for rural and disadvantaged young people.
"All organisations providing volunteer opportunities to young
people should be aware of this gap and respond to it
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