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Volunteering for stronger communities

Background

The Year One interim report from the project is now available. The report examines issues currently affecting volunteering, the voluntary sector and volunteering infrastructure. It draws on fieldwork conducted in the local areas of 15 Volunteer Centres across England. It seeks to assess the state of volunteering and volunteering infrastructure in these areas, highlighting commonalities and differences. Download either key findings summary report or the full report Background

Volunteering England, in partnership with 15 volunteer centres, has been awarded a £1.9 million Big Lottery Fund grant over three years to help communities most affected by the recession through stimulating volunteering. As part of this, IVR is carrying out a major new research project to explore the role that volunteering can play in helping communities to cope with the future recessions and public spending cuts.

Aims of the project

This research seeks to inform debates around volunteering at a national level, as well as providing useful insights for Volunteer Centres and practitioners who work to promote volunteering locally.

Research Objectives

This research will observe and explore the role and experiences of volunteering actors within the context of public spending cuts and the economic downturn. These volunteering actors include volunteers, volunteer involving organisations (as well as volunteer-led groups), Volunteer Centres and other stakeholders (such as local authorities and other infrastructure support).

Specifically, this research will:

  1. Observe and explore how a range of volunteering actors perceive and experience local change as a result of the economic downturn
  2. Map the potential benefits of volunteering and the ways in which volunteering actors see their role in responding to local needs and creating community change
  3. Examine the experiences of volunteering infrastructure in supporting local communities to volunteer

Methods

The research, running over the next three years until the end of October 2014, will employ a variety of research methodologies, including:

  1. Scoping study, including a literature review;

  2. Light-touch tracking study of all 15 Volunteer Centres taking part, involving face-to-face and telephone interviews;

  3. In-depth case studies of two Volunteer Centres and their communities. This stage, which would make up the bulk of the research, would include mapping volunteering infrastructure in the local areas, tracking a group of volunteers over the course of the project to explore their experience and the impact of volunteering, and research with the local community and residents about their perceptions of volunteering and volunteering infrastructure.

Reports

  • Literature Review (July 2012) 

  • Year one interim report (late 2012)

  • Year two interim report (late 2013)

  • Final research report (late 2014)

  • Summary research bulletin (late 2014)

 

The Literature Review is now available. It is designed to help explore research questions and inform the scope of the research project. The Literature Review aims to provide an accessible summary of relevant debates and concepts, and to establish a framework for the research to build on.

The Year One interim report from the project is now available. The report examines issues currently affecting volunteering, the voluntary sector and volunteering infrastructure. It draws on fieldwork conducted in the local areas of 15 Volunteer Centres across England. It seeks to assess the state of volunteering and volunteering infrastructure in these areas, highlighting commonalities and differences. Download either key findings summary report or the full report.

Contact

The lead contact for this work is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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