Npower has released new research which reveals 18-24 year olds are the most likely age group to give up their free time to help in their community with 85% willing to commit time to voluntary projects.
The study of 2,000 people, carried out by one of Britain’s leading energy providers, npower, shows that the iPod generation is holding up David Cameron’s vision for the Big Society, as 40% of people in this age group say they have volunteered recently compared to just one in six older adults. 41% of Brits who claim to have volunteered did so when they were under 24.
The research reveals Britain’s youth are charity champions with half of all 18-24 year olds saying that everyone should volunteer at least once in their lifetime, compared to just 38% of other ages. Putting their elders to shame, 42% of over 55s, the age group most associated with voluntary work, have never volunteered.
Despite a perceived desire to help, with 60% of all Brits saying that volunteering is important, more than one in four people aged 25-65 say they have no interest in volunteering.
This lack of action is perhaps not surprising as more than half (56%) of those questioned think people in full time employment have busier lives than those of previous generations. A staggering 60% of Brits say work commitments, their employer, or lack of time, is preventing them from getting involved in their community, whilst a third (36%) are holding off until they retire.
Bev Frain from UK volunteering charity, CSV, explained: “npower’s survey highlights that Britain’s youth are not worthy of their bad reputation and actually need to be applauded for the work they are doing. However, the research also highlights a gap in Britain’s voluntary sector, where people of working age haven’t volunteered since they were younger, citing ‘lack of time’ as the main obstacle for not getting involved.
“There is a significant appetite for volunteering in the UK and that’s why it’s important that businesses like npower encourage volunteering through the workplace and get other age groups involved. In fact, grouping together with colleagues can be the easiest way to make a big difference without committing a huge amount of time.
“Spending just one day a year supporting a local community group, or half an hour a week mentoring young people or helping primary school children improve their literacy and numeracy skills makes a huge difference to the lives of others without taking up too much time. There’s a tremendous reservoir of skill, talent and energy out there, and we want to empower people and businesses to maximise these skills to help others.”
A survey of npower volunteers in 2011 revealed that 96% of those who had taken part said they felt they had made a difference and 83% felt more positive about working for the company. Meanwhile, 74% said they’d feel more motivated at work in the future.
For more about volunteering, visit www.csv.org.uk