We don't know how to volunteer, teens tell researchers

Young people care about issues such as poverty and climate change, but don't know how to get involved, think they have got nothing to offer or feel they don't have enough time to volunteer.

A new survey of 1,000 young people aged 16-25 by youth volunteering charity v reveals that, the majority of respondents do care about issues of the day but are still reluctant to volunteer.

A total of 63 per cent said they were concerned about war and terrorism, 61 per cent said poverty and 54 per cent said climate change. The local issues that young people feel are most important include a lack of things to do, negative perceptions of young people, crime and local environment.

But half of the respondents said they felt they didn't have enough time or didn't know how to get involved in projects concerning any of these issues. Nearly a quarter, 23 per cent, said they didn't feel that they had anything to offer.

Young people's greatest passions are sport, friends and music and they are much more likely to take positive action because of these personal interests. Of the respondents, 62 per cent said they share information about their passions, 51 per cent help people, 47 per cent create resources and 45 per cent join clubs or groups.

"The survey results highlight the lack of involvement young people exhibit in response to the local and global issues that concern them most, compared to the ease with which they take positive action in relation to their personal passions," said Terry Ryall, chief executive of v.

"If, as a sector, we want to seriously increase the number of young people volunteering, we need to develop positive opportunities for young people which tap into the issues they are concerned about while providing an opportunity to enjoy their personal passions."

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