One in five over-60s volunteers for multiple charities

Royal Voluntary Service research finds that millions of older people in Britain are "portfolio volunteers"

Volunteer helping the elderly with shopping
Volunteer helping the elderly with shopping

One in five over-60s in Britain volunteers for two or more charities, research commissioned by the older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service has found.

A survey of 689 adults aged 60 and over, carried out by ICM Research in July, found that 22 per cent of respondents volunteered for two or more charities.

The charity estimates that of the 10.4 million adults in Britain aged 60 or over, 2.2 million volunteer for two or more charities.

The survey also found that 39 per cent of retirees volunteer for one or more charities, 11 per cent volunteer for three or more and 6 per cent volunteer for four or more charities.

The charity said that the findings show that millions of older people are "portfolio volunteers", juggling many different volunteering roles with a variety of organisations.

Respondents were also asked the reason why they volunteered, and were able to give more than one response.

Eighty-three per cent said they volunteered because they believed the work of the charity was very important and 39 per cent said they did so because a family member had also done so.

Forty-six per cent of respondents said that they volunteered because they needed to feel they had a purpose, and 3 per cent did so because they were fed up with their spouse or partner.

David McCullough, chief executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said: "Many people may believe that retirement is an opportunity to sit back and relax; on the contrary, thousands of older people are committed to helping as many people as they can, making a huge difference to the lives of others in their communities."

The research follows the launch of the charity’s Diamond Champions awards, which celebrate the contribution of older volunteers.

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