Two million volunteers contributed £4bn to the UK economy over past three years, research finds

Almost two million volunteers supported by the National Lottery Community Fund have contributed £4bn to the UK economy over the past three years, according to new research.

A new report, Power in Purpose, published yesterday by the grant-maker, sets out the extent of the social and economic impact volunteers make to communities.

Researchers found that over the past five years, the NLCF had awarded 4,200 grants to support volunteering, amounting to almost £700m in National Lottery, government and third-party funding.

This funding has helped support two million volunteers who have contributed £4bn to the UK’s economy over a three-year period, the report says.

A total of 1,500 of the grants awarded, totalling £124m, supported the volunteering response to the pandemic.

Researchers said this not only provided charities and community groups with vital volunteers to grapple with the impacts of Covid-19, but also gave individuals the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience, improving their employment prospects.

The report says the number of volunteering grants awared by the NLCF increased by almost two-thirds between 2013 and 2019, and 94 per cent of its grantholders involved volunteers delivering their projects over the course of the past year.

Faiza Khan, director of engagement and insight at the NLCF, said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the voluntary and community sector. Without their dedication, knowledge and skills, much of the vital work by charities and community groups would simply not be possible.

“We’re incredibly proud to see the amazing impact money raised by National Lottery players is making to volunteering across the UK, supporting communities to prosper and thrive and build back stronger as we recover from the pandemic.”

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