Newly created community gardens, skills and training acquired by volunteers, increased employment and reduced need for benefits were among the social improvements taken into account.
The study, Inspiring People, Improving Places, says the social return in 2007 for the BTCV’s Employment Programme was £25.3m, based on that fact that participants went on to boost their earnings by a total of £20m and reduced their benefits claims by £5m. The initial investment in the programme was £7.3m.
The People’s Places programme, which allowed groups to create new community spaces, was said to have generated a social return of £33.4m. This is made up of £2m in increased employment among volunteers, £12m in improved leisure facilities and £19m in reduced crime.
The report also describes how volunteering changes behaviour: projects encourage social integration among socially excluded groups and develop more environmentally friendly habits, the report says.