Giving is one of the five ways to wellbeing. So it follows that volunteering – giving your time to help others – is thought to be beneficial to mental health. Volunteering activities can include anything from litter-picking at your local beach and sharing arts and craft skills to collecting someone’s prescription and doing their shopping.
During the pandemic and lockdown, more and more people have volunteered to help others – something that has often proved beneficial to the helper as much as the person being helped. Volunteering can give people valuable skills and experience, boosting confidence.
Volunteers Week is organised by NCVO – the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, in partnership with volunteer groups in Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. As we celebrate Volunteers Week this week (1-7 June), NCVO share some key points about volunteering:
- In 2017/18, 20.1 million (38%) people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year and 11.8 million (22%) of people did so at least once a month.
- ‘Wanting to do good’ is the most common motivation to volunteer. In 2017/18, 46% of people said that they volunteer to improve things and help others.
- In 2015/16, there were around 166,000 voluntary organisations in the UK, most of which rely on volunteers.
- In 2015, volunteering was worth more than £22.6bn to the UK economy. This is equivalent to about 1.2% of GDP.
- 67% of volunteers give their time to charities and community groups, but many others also volunteer in the public and private sectors.
Information about volunteering taken from volunteersweek.org