Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Younger People Missing out on Joy of Voluntary Work; the Community Life Survey Has Seen a Resurgence in Formal Volunteering. but What Does This Really Mean for Charities around the Area? Is the Real Issue the Lack of Interest Shown by the Younger Generation in Performing Selfless, Good Deeds? LAURA NOLAN Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Younger People Missing out on Joy of Voluntary Work; the Community Life Survey Has Seen a Resurgence in Formal Volunteering. but What Does This Really Mean for Charities around the Area? Is the Real Issue the Lack of Interest Shown by the Younger Generation in Performing Selfless, Good Deeds? LAURA NOLAN Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA NOLAN

IN The National Survey of Volunteering, 16-24 year olds' interest was down by about 10%. So why has the overall figure of charitable work increased, but for young people declined? This could be due to modern day British culture, where different societal changes mean men and women in their early 20s are much more focused on earning money and developing a career, as well as socialising.

Although young people are aware of the potential benefits of volunteering, (for example how it can broaden their experience and teach them new skills) this is still not, it seems, a good enough incentive to get them to volunteer in their local charity shop.

That's why it was so refreshing to meet a woman of 21 who actually spent her Wednesdays volunteering for a charity. I asked Samantha West* why she did it. I am 22 and the most charity work I've ever done is volunteer at a local charity shop, which was part of a school project. It was basically forced and not exactly the most selfless thing I could have done.

Samantha clearly feels very differently. "I do it because I enjoy it," she says "My boyfriend used to volunteer here and he inspired me. I'd wanted to do some serious charity work for ages."

Samantha, a newly graduated psychology student from Northumbria University, has volunteered at St Oswald's Hospice in Gosfoeth, Newcastle, for just over two years. St Oswald's is a North East based charity, which provides palliative care to adults, children and young people with life limiting conditions.

It's clear she doesn't do this to benefit herself in any way. "I'm working part-time in a noodle bar, so the least I could do is volunteer at a charity once a week. I don't really have any serious commitments right now."

The sharp rise in volunteering nationally within the last three years reverses the steady decline since 2005. The proportion of people volunteering at least once a year has increased from 65% to 71% and looks to be on the rise, as an even bigger increase in the proportion of people volunteering regularly has also been seen.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: "These figures show a very positive picture of how well Britain has responded to tough times. …

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