Younger people more likely to volunteer

Volunteers cropped

A study by one of Britain's largest charities has revealed that young people are more committed to giving up their time than other generations

26th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Younger people are more interested in volunteering than older generations, a charity has found.

New research by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has shown youngsters are more committed to volunteering to make a difference than any other age group.

While stereotypes of young people might be more liking and swiping than donating and volunteering, the charity’s findings show that they’re bucking those associations, with thousands happy to give up their time for good causes. 

The survey of 2,001 UK adults showed that under 35s volunteer more than any other generation, with over a quarter of 25-34 year olds (25%) currently giving up their time for charities, compared to just over one in eight respondents aged 45-54 (13%). 

The findings also revealed that only one in 12 people aged 16-24 (8%) said they don’t volunteer as it doesn’t interest them, compared to one in five respondents (20%) aged 55 and over who said the same thing.

The report, entitled The Gift of Time, reveals volunteering can have a positive impact on our wellbeing, with seven in 10 volunteers (68%) saying that their charitable actions were beneficial for their mental health. In fact, the report found that 25-34 year olds are most likely to strongly agree that volunteering was beneficial for their mental health (35%), demonstrating the benefits for young people who get involved.

The study also found volunteering could be a potential way to combat feeling lonely or isolated, with over half of all respondents (52%) saying volunteering has helped them overcome loneliness. The largest proportion of people agreeing was again in the 25-34 (64%) age bracket, challenging the perception that loneliness mostly impacts the elderly generations 

The survey also reveals young people are more likely to lend a hand if they can learn from it. Two in five respondents aged 16-24 (40%) say they volunteer to gain new skills and experience, compared to less than one in five of those 55 and over (18%). 

Kim Blake, 25, has volunteered as a community speaker for BHF for two years and said it has given her confidence.

She said: “I started volunteering when I was going through a difficult time in my life. I had just graduated from university and was feeling lost with what to do next, and how to go about finding a job. I knew that I wanted a job in the health sector because I enjoy helping people and making a difference but needed to gain some experience- so I got in touch with the BHF.

“What I didn’t expect from volunteering is how much it would change my life. Volunteering might be seen as something you do when you retire but for me, volunteering as a community speaker has really helped me find my feet. I have had access to training, built my confidence in ways I never imagined and met new, lifelong friends. It’s helped me start my career and experience new things.” 

Jared, 22, has been volunteering at his local British Heart Foundation for the past five years, alongside studying for an engineering degree. This year he qualified as a science teacher.

Jared said: “My time volunteering has equipped me with practical skills, while also strengthening my job applications. As well as improving my CV and complimenting my studies, I have loved being able to help a good cause and meet new people.


During his time at the BHF, Jared’s role included working as part of the team in the warehouse and as a sales assistant on the shop floor. He said: “I love the camaraderie and teamwork the role entails and hope more young people will discover the benefits of volunteering. It would be great for other young people to volunteer during their free time, such as sixth form free periods, in order to gain wider experiences and improve their career prospects.”

Linda Fenn, head of volunteering at the BHF, said: “Volunteering has a reputation problem that we urgently need to address. Far too many people assume that it’s just for older people and that it might not benefit them, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our report has shown that young people have so much to gain from getting involved, helping them learn new things, improve their health and wellbeing, and make lifelong friends.

“At the BHF, we are lucky enough to have volunteers across all ages - whether they’re 16 or over 90 years old - all working together to help us raise money for our life saving research. Our older volunteers in particular play a big role in helping to build the next generation of volunteers and young people find real value in learning from their experience. Whether you would like to join a fundraising group and be involved in community based activities or gain retail experience on a busy shop floor, we have a multitude of varied roles on offer, so there really is something for everyone. Simply visit our website to find out more.”