Covid-19 crisis escalates volunteering boom among young people

The Covid-19 pandemic has “exacerbated an existing trend” of increased volunteering among young people, research by nfpSynergy has found.

Volunteering rates among the under 30s have risen in the last three months from 30% to 40%, according to the think tank’s analysis.

“Covid-19 will surely have had a significant impact on this with many responding to the NHS call for volunteers, or other local ‘mutual aid’ and voluntary schemes, said nfpSynergy.

Meanwhile, among those aged 55 and above volunteering rates have dropped by 10% since 2018. On average one in ten in this age group say they have volunteered in the last three months.

“Covid-19 has a large part to play in all of this of course as elderly people are self-isolating more strictly than other age groups,” added nfpSynergy.

Its research looks at how the lowering the average age of volunteers is part of a long term trend in the charity sector.

“Whilst in 2012 the older age groups outstripped the youth for levels of volunteering, that trend has steadily been reversed suggesting that Covid-19 has merely exacerbated an existing trend rather than restructured the landscape of volunteering,” said nfpSynergy.

It added that youth volunteering is “somewhat cyclical” and particularly prevalent in the “summer month drawing a larger cohort of young volunteers to festivals and summer projects”.

“It is also very plausible that volunteering rates could be on the increase as schools and universities generally are becoming increasingly encouraging of such a vocation,” said the think tank.

“Securing a place at university or future employment is only aided by having some sort of volunteer experience and so potentially this is causing the upsurge.”

The think tank says that uncertainty around Covid-19 means it is difficult to predict when they will be upsurge in volunteering rates among the elderly.

Charity shop volunteers

Earlier this week it emerged that a Charity Retail Association website had sourced 1,5000 potential charity shop volunteers after launching around a month ago.

Last month researchers at Nottingham Trent University urged charities to promote the mental health benefits of volunteers. This found that volunteers identified strongly with their community, felt supported and reported a personal sense of wellbeing.

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