Olympics funder backs review into experiences of disabled volunteers

The experiences of volunteers with disabilities is to be investigated as part of a £30,000 research project backed by Spirit of 2021, the London 2012 Olympics legacy funder.

The research is to fund a team of four researchers involving Kim Donahue Associates and the University of Salford who will work in collaboration with voluntary and community sector network HEAR.

This will involve six in depth case studies with organisations that work with volunteers, as well as analysing data.

The research is understood to be the first of its kind to look at the background and experiences of disabled volunteers.

The results are set to be published by April 2022 and aim to be used to support inclusive volunteer programmes.

“Ours will be the first project of its kind to produce detailed statistics on different types of disability and how they combine with a person’s gender, age, ethnicity and other characteristics to create their unique experiences of volunteering,” said Dr Daiga Kamerāde, a Reader in Work and Wellbeing at University of Salford.

Spirit of 2012 chief executive Ruth Hollis added: “When done well, volunteering is hands-down a good thing; the pandemic has pulled that into focus in a way that we haven’t seen before. There are benefits for the organisation, the end user and a positive impact on the wellbeing of the volunteer.

“And when disabled and non-disabled people volunteer together, there are huge advantages, not least in tackling prejudice around disability. We’re delighted to take the lead in funding this important work which has a very singular rationale – to make volunteering, whatever its context, more inclusive.”

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