Around half of people intend to volunteer in 2022, research finds

Research by the National Lottery Community Fund suggests the coming months will see a surge in volunteers coming forward to support charities and their local communities.

Its survey of more than 8,000 Brits found that just under half (46%) say they intend to volunteer or help out in their local community in 2022.

The proportion rockets to 71% among 18- to 24-year-olds, indicating that charities need to ensure they are targeting young people with their volunteer recruitment promotion.

The findings have emerged in the NLCF’s annual community research index, which shows that three quarters (73%) of people feel a sense of connection to their local community, up from 69% last year.

Also, 68% say that feeling part of their community is important, compared to 62% last year. Among 18-to 24-year-olds this proportion increases to 73%.

Reducing loneliness and isolation, cited by 48% of people, is the top issue for their local community, according to the research.

A similar proportion (46%) are focused on "looking out for people", 40% mentioned mental health support and 39% want to see preventing youth violence a priority in 2022.

“Despite the challenges and hardships of the last two years, these new findings demonstrate that the UK’s sense of community holds strong,” said NLCF chief executive David Knott.

“Feeling part of our local community is important for wellbeing, and better enables people to prosper and thrive.

“As the largest funder of community activity in the UK we are particularly pleased to see that this new research supports and builds on the findings of our recently published Impact Report. People want to take an active role in their community, and volunteering intentions for the year ahead are strong.

“Young people are leading the way, and this will hopefully not only bring them great opportunities, but also strength, sustainability and new skills to the groups they join.”

Commenting on the findings charities minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I’m pleased to see that people’s sense of belonging continues to grow and that despite the challenges of Covid a strong community spirit prevails.

“Supporting our charities and the crucial work they do in the community has been a priority for the Government with an unprecedented £750m being made available during the pandemic.

“We will continue to work with our National Lottery Community Fund partners to do all we can to encourage even greater community participation including in the important areas of volunteering, youth support and tackling loneliness.”

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