Young volunteers top three million

By Laura McCardle

| 24 November 2014

Three million young people are taking part in social action opportunities, according to new research.

Step up to Serve aims to increase the number of young people taking part in social action to 4.5 million by 2020. Image: vInspired

A study by Ipsos Mori has found that 40 per cent of 10- to 20-year-olds are taking part in projects designed to benefit their local communities.

The research, funded by the Cabinet Office, found that young people are taking part in three types of activities – fundraising (40 per cent), volunteering for charity (35 per cent) and helping someone who needs support in their community (25 per cent).

During the study, young people reported that the main benefit of taking part in social action was the enjoyment of helping others (71 per cent). Other reported benefits include having fun (46 per cent) and supporting a cause they believe in (34 per cent).

Meanwhile, 21 per cent of young people claimed that taking part in projects had helped them to develop a range of key skills.

The research has been launched to coincide with the first anniversary of Step up to Serve’s #iwill campaign, which aims to increase the number of young people taking part in social action to 4.5 million by 2020.

Charlotte Hill, chief executive of Step up to Serve, said: “This research shows clearly that there is a real appetite among young people to get involved and contribute to the communities in which they live.

“By helping others, young people are also developing their own skills and character – so there’s a double benefit.

“We want organisations across society to help us generate more opportunities for young people to play their part.”

Minister for civil society Rob Wilson added: “It’s hugely encouraging that this research finds so many young people already take part in social action and understand the double benefit it creates.

“This is a great platform from which we can build – but there is still so much to do to reach the other 60 per cent.”

Sophie Livingston, co-chair of youth campaign Generation Change, said: “This highlights what we see in the sector every day – that young people want to make a difference on the causes they care about, and recognise that by helping others they gain new experiences and skills.”

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