Volunteering levels have declined by 15 per cent over a decade, according to Office for National Statistics figures published today.
Figures from the household satellite accounts, analysed today by the ONS, show that people in the UK volunteered for 1.93 billion hours in 2015, compared to 2.28 billion hours in 2005.
Over the same period, the population grew by 7.8 per cent, meaning the average number of hours volunteered by each person fell by 21.5 per cent over the 10 year period.
“There has been a general decline in the time that the UK’s unsung heroes and heroines spend volunteering since 2005,” the new analysis says.
The analysis suggests that the value lost to the UK was £1bn just between 2012 and 2015. It also shows that the contribution of volunteering compared to GDP in the UK has fallen from 1.7 per cent of the total to 1.3 per cent.
The analysis shows that the fall came despite a rise in the number of people volunteering.
Between 2000 and 2015, participation rates increased from 39 per cent to 41 per cent for men and from 39 per cent to 42 per cent for women. However the average time spent volunteering decreased from 12.3 to 11.3 minutes for men and 16.3 to 15.7 minutes for women.
However there appears to be a significant rise in youth volunteering.
In 2015, 51 per cent of those aged between 16 and 24 volunteered, and did so for an average of 17 minutes per day. In the year 2000, only 40 per cent volunteered, for only nine minutes per day.
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The figures also show that similar numbers of men and women volunteer, but that women volunteer for on average 15.7 minutes per day, compared to 11.3 minutes for men. Those in high income households were more likely to volunteer than those in lower income households.
Students were most likely to volunteer, with 58 per cent participating.