Youth volunteering in deprived areas

1 March 2017

James Davies at the University of Strathclyde is nearing completion of his PhD thesis. We are pleased to be able to share some of his preliminary findings with you. 

Youth Volunteering DA Gateway Image

While we have statistical data about young people’s attitudes towards volunteering and rates of engagement, less is known about what volunteering means to them or how they participate in it. This is particularly so for young people in disadvantaged areas whose responses may not be picked up by survey methods.

From our Young People in Scotland 2016 research we know that the out-of-school volunteering participation rate plummets from 50% in those schools which have no pupils living in the lowest SIMD quintile, to 16% for those with 60-100% of their pupils in the lowest SIMD quintile.  This corroborates other evidence indicating lower levels of volunteering among disadvantaged young people. Given the benefits volunteering can give rise to, it is important to understand how young people who volunteer in such areas start doing so.

Youth volunteering initiatives are often promoted in a manner that highlights the extent to which volunteering can enhance CVs or applications. Yet researchers have argued the lives of young people in disadvantaged areas can be characterised by a lack of planning (MacDonald & Marsh, 2005) suggesting volunteering may not be approached in this manner. James’s research provides an invaluable insight into the value young people attach to volunteering. 

Volunteer Scotland has worked with James and his supervisors to produce Benefits and Barriers papers which focus on young people volunteering in some of the most deprived areas of Glasgow.

Other PhD research outputs

James has provided access to two key outputs from his research:

  1. Young people’s views on the benefits of volunteering in areas of multiple deprivation (full report)
  2. Young people and volunteering: a literature review

To find out more about the research or to share any insights or feedback please contact: James Davies (PhD student) or Matthew Linning (Volunteer Scotland).  


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