Only 11 per cent of people in Britain are involved in volunteering, although 75 per cent say they would like to be, according to a survey for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help.
The poll, by research company NOP, found that those who did volunteer found it a positive experience on their own lives as well as being useful to the community. Nearly 60 per cent of volunteers surveyed said that voluntary work gives you a more interesting social life and over 70 per cent said it made you feel good about yourself.
Charities for children followed by those for people with disabilities were the most popular. Charities for older people and those providing counselling support also rated highly.
CSV, a volunteering organisation, conducted research on the same subject this year. A spokesman said: "Voluntary organisations need to be pro-active and go out to get people to volunteer."