Section eight - Volunteering
The results of the SHS 2020 telephone survey are not directly comparable to SHS results for previous years. Please see Introduction for more detail.
Formal volunteering refers to unpaid work undertaken through an organisation to help other people or a cause. Informal volunteering refers to unpaid help given as an individual directly to people who are not relatives.
64% of adults had taken part in formal or informal volunteering in the last year (Table 8.46). 56% of adults took part in informal volunteering, and 26% took part in formal volunteering. 70% of adults who took part in formal volunteering did so for 5 hours or less in the past month (Table 8.22). 62% of adults who took part in informal volunteering did so for 5 hours or less in the past month (Table 8.67).
65% of adults who do not do formal volunteering said nothing could convince them to volunteer in the future (Table 8.37). For those who could be convinced, the most common reasons given were if they knew how their time or skills could help others (11%) and availability of information on roles and how to get started (8%).
Though men and women were equally likely to take part in formal volunteering, women were more likely to take part in informal volunteering than men (Table 8.47).
Adults living in the 20% least deprived areas were more likely to have undertaken formal volunteering in the previous 12 months (29%) than adults living in the 20% most deprived areas (14%) (Table 8.51). The same was true for informal volunteering.
Adults living in remote rural areas were more likely to have undertaken formal volunteering (38%), compared to adults living in large urban areas (25%) (Table 8.8).
The organisations or groups for which adults undertook formal volunteering varied by gender (Table 8.11). Women were more likely to take part in formal volunteering with organisations or groups related to health, disability and wellbeing. Men were more likely to take part in formal volunteering with organisations or groups related to physical activity, sport and exercise or hobbies and recreation.
Common roles that adults who took part in formal volunteering said they undertook were ‘helping out as required’ (58%) and ‘acting as a committee member or a trustee’ (25%) (Table 8.25).
Keeping in touch with someone at risk of being lonely was the most common type of informal volunteering (Table 8.56).
The types of informal volunteering undertaken varied by gender. Women were more likely to keep in touch with someone at risk of being lonely or to babysit/look after children. Men were more likely to help improve their local environment.
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