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Life is better for young people who help others according to new study

Tuesday 21-02-2017 - 11:00

As Student Volunteering Week gets underway, a new UK-wide survey reveals the benefits enjoyed by young people who take part in activities that make a positive difference.

Findings from the National Youth Social Action survey, released today by the #iwill campaign, show that those involved in volunteering and social action have significantly higher life-satisfaction than those who don’t, as well as having stronger personal networks.  


A climb in confidence


Involvement in social action is also shown to support confidence in gaining employment.

The proportion of young people who felt it would help them to do so, rises steadily with the frequency of participation – 88 per cent of those involved once a month thought social action would help them find work in future.


The socio-economic barriers


It research indicates that just 17 per cent of 10 to 20-year-olds are reluctant to take part in activities like fundraising, campaigning and volunteering. However, currently. 42 per cent of this age-group are shown to be participating - suggesting that appetite isn’t matched by the opportunities available.

Interestingly, young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are taking part significantly more than they were in 2013, when the survey was first conducted. However, this group is still taking part less than their peers.


Students are less shy with a little help from their friends…


The survey also shows that support from teachers, parents and friends to get involved is vital.

Almost all young people who take part in regular social action receive some form of encouragement, compared to less than half of those who have never taken part.

This is backed up by the finding that schools and colleges remain the most common route into social action, with teachers identified as having a particularly strong influence on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations  (NCVO), said it was “encouraging to see fresh evidence of the appetite among young people to take action in support of others.”

Meanwhile, Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign, added that, despite growing up in a “turbulent world ever-changing world”, the research confirmed that “social action supports young people to develop skills, improve their well-being and build links with others.”


The #iwill campaign is coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve. The full report is available here.

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