Volunteering among groups deemed of social exclusion

The 'Helping Out' study carried out in 2006-07 provided a new evidence-base about people's volunteering and giving in England.

The Cabinet Office 2004 Spending Review Public Service Agreement 4 (PSA 4) Element 1 aimed at increasing community and voluntary engagement particularly among those who were seen at risk of social exclusion. The Helping Out study did provide a detailed insight as groups at risk of social exclusion were oversampled, deliberatively. This bulletin focuses on regular formal volunteering as that was the aim of the Helping Out study, although the groups targeted in this bulletin are more likely to take part informally.

Looking at the results a fall in volunteering could be seen as statistically significant, this result conceals a slight increase in participation among black respondents. At risk groups were seen to volunteer mainly in the voluntary and the community sectors such as religious organisations particularly for BME groups. Volunteers with a LLI were also participating in the health and disability field. People at risk groups were under represented in roles requiring managerial and organisational skills.

The motivations for starting volunteering among these groups were for their religious beliefs or because there was a need in the community. At risk groups were more likely to refer to benefits such as personal benefits, gaining new skills and enhanced employability.

The bulletin suggests that policy should aim to encourage the public and private sectors to involve more volunteers from at risk groups, especially in more skilled volunteering roles.

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