Youth volunteering boom predicted for 2023

Research is suggesting an extra 2.5m people aged between 18 and 34 will give up their time for UK charities in 2023.

The figures are based on a survey carried out by Pro Bono Economics that found that one in six people (17%) in this age range plan to start volunteering this year.

This compares to only 6% of over 55 who are not currently volunteering planning to give up their time this year.

Pro Bono Economics policy and communications director Nicole Sykes says the anticipated volunteering boost among young people follows “an incredibly challenging” 2022 as charities tackled the cost-of-living crisis.

It also follows a marked drop in the proportion of people volunteering, dropping from 27% in England in 2013/14 to 17% in 2020/21.

“Encouragingly, a new generation of young volunteers appear to have been galvanised and are keen to donate some of their time in 2023,” she said.

“This is hugely positive in the wake of falling volunteer numbers in recent years.

“While it should be noted that volunteers are not a cost-free resource for charities – requiring training and management among other things – if organisations are able to take on this new support, 2023 could be the year of the volunteer. That would be good for charities and society alike.”

The latest findings are backed up by a separate study, carried out by the think tank with Nottingham Trust University, which found that one in five charities are expecting their volunteer numbers to increase in the coming months.

The latest findings from their VCSE Sector Barometer show that 51% of charities reported their volunteer numbers remained steady over the three months to November 2022. Over this period 12% of charities reported an increase in volunteers.

This also showed that more than three quarters (77%) of charities have experienced an increase in demand for their services.

Last month the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) handed £600,000 to the Vision for Volunteering campaign, set up by charity sector leaders to boost volunteering opportunities.

A DCMS commission report published by the Institute for Community Studies in September found that volunteering opportunities for young people were patchy nationwide and particularly challenging for those living in rural areas.

Volunteering awards

The work of charities to promote volunteering that supports young people was recognised in a special award to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee last year.

This special one-off addition of the Queen’s Award or Voluntary Service was awarded to 20 charities “for their exceptional work to empower young people”.

Those honoured include the Social Mobility Foundation, The National Deaf Children’s Society and Centrepoint.

“Receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award is a fantastic recognition of the efforts and passion Centrepoint staff and volunteers give every day to support and empower the young people that come to us for help. I’m always struck by how humble our volunteers are,” said Kris Heskett, Centrepoint’s volunteering manager.

“The roles they fill are absolutely vital and they’re always putting the needs of young people first without ever expecting anything in return. I know they will feel proud of this achievement, and I hope it encourages more people to get involved with Centrepoint and our work supporting young people trying to leave homelessness behind.”

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