Scottish Household Survey – Volunteering

February 1, 2018 by No Comments | Category Uncategorized

Ever offer to help a neighbour by walking their dog while they’re in hospital? Or coach a kids’ football team? Lead a Scouts or Girl Guides group? What about getting involved in the school run? You may not realise it, but all of these actions are considered a form of volunteering. That’s right, volunteering makes up a surprising part of our daily lives, and you may be doing it without even realising.

The difference between formal volunteering, such as running a Scouts group or coaching a sports team and informal volunteering, such as helping out a neighbour or sharing the school run with other parents, may seem small, but it is this difference that makes informal volunteering tricky to keep track of.

Formal volunteering, on the other hand, is easier to identify and therefore easier to collect information about. Data from the Scottish Household Survey is being used to identify not only how much formal volunteering is being done around Scotland, but who is doing the volunteering, and what kind of organisations people are volunteering for.

According to SHS data, rates of volunteering participation for adults in Scotland has remained the same over the last five years: around three in ten adults provide unpaid help to an organisation or group. Younger adults have tended to work with children and young people helping with sporting activities, whilst older adults have preferred to volunteer for religious organisations, community groups and groups working specifically with the elderly. Last year’s SHS data continues to support existing evidence of the under-representation of disadvantaged groups in volunteering.

The SHS provides the only national source of participation data in Scotland on volunteering. The data is used throughout the Scottish Government to shape policy around a wide variety of areas: employability, community engagement, health and well-being, older people support, and equalities.

Local authorities and charities, too, use SHS data for understanding the volunteering landscape at a local level and identifying areas where better access to volunteering opportunities is needed. In essence, this survey provides feedback on what volunteering opportunities people are taking advantage of, how they can be better supported, where new opportunities should be developed, and where to increase access to volunteering opportunities for the benefit of everyone living in Scotland.

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