According to the Office of National Statistics (also known as the ONS) volunteers gave 7% less of their time to help their communities, at a loss to the UK of more than £1 billion, between 2012 and 2015.
In fact, there has been a general decline in the time that the UK’s unsung heroes and heroines spend volunteering since 2005. Despite the value of the voluntary sector to the UK, there has been a 15.4% decline in the total number of frequent hours volunteered between 2005 and 2015, a reduction from 2.28 billion hours to 1.93 billion. Latest figures from 2014 show volunteering represented 2% of the total value of unpaid work, and was worth £23 billion.
Age and volunteering – The Big Society and Beyond: The statistics suggest that those in the youngest age group of 16 to 24 have increased the time they devote to volunteering while those in the 25 to 34 age category have decreased their volunteering time. In 2015 average time and participation in volunteering was higher for those aged between 16 and 24 (17 minutes per day and 51% participation) and was a noticeable rise as compared to those in the same age group in 2000 (nine minutes per day and 40% participation). It could be that, as younger people try and secure employment, they undertake voluntary work in order to enhance their CVs, but as they embed themselves in their careers, at an older age, their focus turns to building their careers. Also, younger people have more free time, with participation rates for students rising the most – by 12 percentage points between 2000 and 2015 – from 46% to 58%.
Men vs women: Overall, women are streets ahead of their male counterparts when it comes to volunteering and when they volunteer, they do so for longer periods of time. There was a decline in the number of minutes dedicated to voluntary work for both men and women; from 12.29 per day to 11.29 for men and a drop from 16.30 to 15.65 for women, both between 2000 and 2015. The full report can be seen here