Citizens Advice volunteers 'donated 7 million hours' in the year to March 2013

The report says that 80 per cent of survey respondents believed volunteering had a positive effect on their health and 90 per cent said it helped improve their self-esteem

Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice

Volunteers donated 7 million hours of their time to Citizens Advice in the year to March 2013, according to figures released by the charity to coincide with the start of Volunteers’ Week.

The charity, which provides advice on legal and financial problems and other services, said in its report CAB Volunteering – How Everyone Benefits that the number of volunteering hours were worth £109m.

The report also includes a survey of 1,500 of Citizens Advice volunteers, which found that 80 per cent of respondents believed volunteering had a positive effect on their health and 90 per cent said it had helped to improve their self-esteem. Sixty per cent of respondents reported feeling less stressed as a result of volunteering.

The charity said it calculated the financial value of its volunteers’ contribution using Office for National Statistics data on salaries.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Our volunteers make a huge contribution to their local communities and to society but these figures now reveal the benefits that volunteers can expect to see themselves."

A separate study by the Royal Voluntary Service, also published to coincide with Volunteers’ Week, found that its 1.9 million volunteers gave 123 million hours a year to support Britain’s healthcare system, worth £487m, based on the minimum wage of £6.31 per hour.

A survey of 2,025 adults, carried out by the market research firm ICM last month on behalf of the charity, also found that 55 per cent of people would like to see more volunteers in hospitals. "The help provided by volunteers to the health service mustn’t be underestimated," said David McCullough, chief executive of RVS. "Although their work might be simple, it is a source of vital support and we know that the emotional benefits volunteers offer to patients can make a real difference to wellbeing."

Volunteers’ Week takes place between 1 and 7 June and celebrates the contribution volunteers make to good causes in the UK.

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