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Volunteering - Single hand raised, against grey background

Volunteering at six-year low

The percentage of the English population that volunteers at least once a year has dropped to its lowest point in six years, according to the government’s Community Life Survey for 2018/19.

The Community Life Survey is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and was based on a sample of more than 10,000 people. The survey said that only 36% of adults over the age of 16 took part in formal volunteering, defined as unpaid help given through clubs or organisations, once a year. In comparison, 45% of adults did so in 2013/14, and 38% did so in last year’s survey.

People aged 65 to 74 were the most likely to volunteer at least once a month, at 28%, and 35 to 49-year-olds were the most likely to have volunteered at least once in the past year, with 40% having done so. The survey revealed that work commitments and a busy social life were the biggest barriers to formal volunteering, while wanting to improve things and the importance of the cause were the biggest reasons for people opting to volunteer.

People in the richest areas of England were more likely to volunteer than those in the most deprived areas, according to the survey. People in rural areas were more likely than city dwellers to volunteer formally, with 29% doing so once a month compared with 20% of urbanites. The inhabitants of the South East and South West were more likely to volunteer than those anywhere else in England; the North East was the region with the lowest levels of formal volunteering, according to the survey.

Read: Civil Society – Fewer people volunteering, says DMCS survey