Young People and Volunteering in Scotland 2016

We've surveyed young people once more on their involvement and future interest in volunteering.

Young People In Scotland Research 16_702x 381


This research examines the nature and extent of volunteer participation and attitudes towards volunteering among young people (aged 11-18 years). It repeats our 2014 research with Ipsos MORI and reveals some striking findings. The key issues addressed include:

  • A good news story – youth volunteer participation has grown to 52%, nearly double the adult volunteer figure of 27%.
  • Exploration of the factors which have underpinned this growth in youth volunteering from 33% in 2009 to 52% in 2016. This includes ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, the jobs market, awards and recognition, and targeted support.
  • Understanding the key ‘influences’ which would most encourage young people to volunteer, from personal dynamics such as volunteering with friends to career benefits. 
  • Discussion of the possible explanations for the dramatic decline in volunteering in adulthood. Volunteer participation more than halves to 24% for the 25 – 34 age group.
  • Youth volunteering is much more inclusive than we expected:
    • The proportion of young people who volunteer in school time in the most deprived areas is the same as the least deprived areas (both 33%),
    • Volunteer participation by those young people with a physical or mental health condition is greater than young people generally (61%).
  • However, there are still significant challenges:
    • Volunteer participation outside school declines dramatically in areas of deprivation,
    • Volunteering is highest in rural compared to urban areas (65% vs. 49%),
    • Girls are more engaged in volunteering than boys (58% vs. 46%).

Summary Report

Full Report



We have prepared a separate Technical Note which explains the research methodology and some of the analytical issues.

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