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34 million hours of volunteering time up for grabs this winter

5 December 2022

Charities could tap into millions of hours of volunteering time over the next few months according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The survey shows 1 in 10 people (9%) said they would be very likely to volunteer a day of their time to a local charity, group, or club if they were personally asked.  This is equivalent to an estimated 34 million hours of volunteering time.

There are potentially 1 million new volunteers that charities could recruit, from the quarter (24%) who said they were very likely to volunteer who had not done so already over the last 12 months.

More than three quarters (78%) of people believe that volunteering can really make a difference in local communities.  This could include delivering food to those who are isolated, acting as a befriender to an elderly person, or helping at a sports club.

Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, more people are relying on the services of charities, but these organisations are seeing their donations fall as people cut back.  In fact, four-fifths (81%) agree that people in their community will find it difficult to manage financially over the coming months.

Every year, formal volunteering through a group, club, or organisation adds approximately £24 billion of value to the economy according to research from the Office for National Statistics.

However, CAF’s polling shows that many people engage in formal volunteering with 22% of respondents looking after a child or pet for a friend, relative, or neighbour, and 12% helping an elderly or vulnerable person in October.

Monday 5 December is UN International Volunteer Day which celebrates the theme of solidarity through volunteering.  The campaign highlights the power of our collective humanity to drive through positive change through volunteerism.

Alison Taylor, CEO CAF Bank and CAF Charity Services, said:

“Most UK charities rely on huge numbers of people who generously give up their time to help.  International Volunteer Day 2022 provides a chance to celebrate their work and show how we can all contribute through volunteering.

“At a time when people may find it difficult to help charities financially, donating your time can be an invaluable way to support charities and their vital work in your local community.”

Solette Sheppardson, CEO of Voluntary Support North Surrey, an organisation that supports the voluntary sector with volunteer recruitment and training, said:

“Everybody’s journey in volunteering is individual and their reasons for giving back will be personal to them.  But the impact they make is universal.  We see time and again that volunteers through third sector organisations reach and support some of the most vulnerable in our society.  They shape our communities.”

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