Volunteering and giving levels flat in 2015/16

According this year's Community Life Survey, 70 per cent of people claim to have volunteered in the past year, compared with 69 per cent in 2014/15

Volunteering: levels flat
Volunteering: levels flat

Volunteering and charitable giving levels remained broadly flat in 2015/16, according to the government’s latest annual Community Life Survey.

The survey, which contacted about 3,000 adults in England between July 2015 and April 2016, found that 70 per cent of people said they volunteered formally or informally in the past year, compared with 69 per cent in 2014/15.

It found that 41 per cent of respondents took part in formal volunteering in 2015/16, compared with 42 per cent the year before. 

Rates of informal volunteering also remained broadly the same, increasing by one percentage point to 60 per cent in the latest survey.

The survey defines formal volunteering as providing unpaid help through groups, clubs or organisations. Informal volunteering is considered to be unpaid help to other people who are unrelated to the volunteer.

People in the 16-to-24 age group were the most likely to volunteer, with 81 per cent of respondents having volunteered in the previous year.

The north east and London were the areas with the lowest volunteering rates in this year’s survey, with 50 per cent and 54 per cent of respondents volunteering once this year.

In comparison, 81 per cent of respondents in the south east and the West Midlands reported volunteering once in the past year.

The survey found that 73 per cent of people donated money to charities in the four weeks before the survey took place, compared with 75 per cent in each of the two previous years.

The average amount given to charity was £22 in 2015/16, which is the same as the previous year, the researchers found.

The percentage of respondents agreeing that their neighbourhood "pulls together to improve the area" also increased, rising from 63 per cent in 2014/15 to 68 per cent in the latest survey.

Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, said in a statement: "This year’s Community Life Survey shows that communities across the country are pulling together and creating better places to live.

"People also continue to give huge amounts of their time and money to the causes that matter most to them, contributing towards a bigger, stronger society.

"I am determined to continue this success and work with charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises to further promote volunteering, fundraising and giving back to communities. We continue to be a one-nation government with compassion at its heart."

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