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Young People in Scotland Survey 2022

Volunteering Analysis

This is our fourth survey of young people investigating their engagement with volunteering, which is based on data from Ipsos’ omnibus survey of secondary school pupils across Scotland.

The results reveal a marked decline in volunteering participation between 2019-2022:

  • Formal volunteering – down 12 percentage points from 49% to 37%
  • Informal volunteering – down 7 percentage points from 25% to 18%

This is perhaps unsurprising given the potential impacts of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and now the cost of living crisis on young people’s health  and wellbeing. Other contributory factors may include:

  • Volunteering tasks being less suited to young people during crises.
  • COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis restricting the spaces in which formal youth volunteering takes place.
  • The closure of schools during COVID-19 which removed the positive influence of teachers in supporting young people’s participation in volunteering.

Demographic Impacts

  • Age – the formal volunteering participation rate for young people aged 17-18 was a remarkable 68%, which is much higher than those aged 11-16.
  • Gender – girls and boys were equally likely to volunteer, both formally and informally, in 2022.
  • Deprivation – young people living in the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland (quintile 1) were less likely to volunteer formally than those in quintiles 2-5.
  • Long-term Health Conditions (LHCs) – young people with LHCs had higher volunteering participation rates, both formally and informally, compared to those without LHCs.
  • Faith groups – volunteering by young people of Christian faith has declined very significantly.

Other highlights

  • Formal volunteering in ‘physical activity, sport and exercise’ had the highest decline of volunteering types, from 37% in 2019 to 27% in 2022.
  • Girls’ formal volunteering participation in ‘physical activity, sport and exercise’ is now higher than boys (32% vs. 22% respectively).
  • The significant decline in health and wellbeing, and career/skills benefits, which young people derive from formal volunteering.
  • The most important ‘influencer’ in encouraging young people to start volunteering or do more volunteering is the ability to volunteer with a friend.
  • Young people still contributed 9.7 million hours volunteering formally in 2022.
  • Young people’s formal volunteering participation rate is still 10 percentage points higher than adults in Scotland in 2021 (37% vs. 27% respectively).

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