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Your spotlight on health and social care services
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What motivates people to volunteer?

In just three years, local Healthwatch has managed to recruit over 6,000 volunteers who work tirelessly to find out what people think about health and social care services.

But what makes someone give up their time for an organisation in their community? As part of Volunteers’ Week, we look at what a recent poll of over 2,000 British adults tells us.

How widespread is volunteering?

An impressive 44% of people polled said that they have given up their time in the past for a community they belong to or are currently doing so.

More than 1 in 6 (16%) people said that they currently give up their time to volunteer for an organisation or cause within a community they belong to. While almost 3 in 10 (28%) said that, although they may not volunteer at the moment, they have done so previously. 

How much time do people give up?

Many volunteers give up quite a lot of their time for their chosen cause.

Of those who said they currently volunteer, the majority (62%) said that, on average, they volunteer for more than one hour a week. 

Are more people interested in volunteering?

It’s also encouraging that, even if people don’t give up their time for a community cause at the moment, there is an appetite to do so.

In our poll, 49% of adults who do not currently volunteer said that they are willing to do so. And, the majority (74%) of this group said that they would be prepared to donate an hour or more of their time per week.


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What stops them?

But what stops more people from getting involved in a community cause or organisation? According to those we asked about the issue, the main barriers appear to be time, awareness and relevance.

53% of those who said that they don’t currently volunteer feel like they don’t have enough time, while 18% were unsure of what organisations or causes they could contribute to.
17% said that none of their local organisations or causes felt relevant to them.

What motivates people?

We also asked adults in the poll what factors might make them more or less likely to choose a particular issue to get involved with.

The most influential factors seem to be whether an issue had touched their lives or their family (63% said this would make them more likely) or if an organisation aims to help members of their community (57% said this would make them more likely).  

What about volunteering for a local Healthwatch?

If there was an opportunity available to help improve your local health and social care services through sharing any experiences you've had with these services, how interested would you be in volunteering?

When we also asked this question in the poll, nearly half (45%) of all adults said they would be interested.

This opportunity exists in every area of England, where your local Healthwatch works to find out local people’s views of health and care and to ensure that those who run services hear these views.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be involved with, why not get in touch with your local Healthwatch

Find your local Healthwatch

Total sample size was 2046 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between  14th - 15th April 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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