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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

One in six Scots volunteer during lockdown

This news post is about 4 years old

New figures reveal 10 million adults in the UK have given their time to support others.

Around one in six adults in Scotland have volunteered during the lockdown, according to new research.

Figures from Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that 10 million adults around the UK have come together to support their communities since lockdown began in March.

In Scotland, 16% of adults – upwards of 650,000 people - have done some form of voluntary service during the pandemic, from tackling loneliness by calling socially isolated people to delivering groceries for those unable to leave their homes.

Across the UK as a whole, 19% of adults have volunteered, including nearly a quarter (23%) of furloughed workers.

According to the new research, work done by volunteers has an equivalent economic value of more than £357m, with each individual contributing an average of three hours of their time.

Two thirds of volunteers (67%) are helping with grocery shopping for others and a quarter (26%) have collected and delivered medicines or prescriptions outside of the formal NHL volunteer programme. One in six has spent time calling those suffering from loneliness.

Volunteers came from all age groups, with 22% of those aged 35-54 giving up their time to assist others, 18% of those aged 55 and over, and 17% of people aged 34 and under. Almost a third (29%) of UK adults believe that younger generations have taken on more responsibility during the lockdown to support their parents and grandparents.

More than three-quarters (78%) of those volunteering said they plan to continue helping those in need after the lockdown.

Nigel Wilson, Legal & General CEO, said: “Being more isolated has made us also more inclusive. Britain’s community spirit has doubled down in lockdown, forging an informal army of volunteers who are now a key part of our national infrastructure in the crisis. Individuals and families have come together and created new ties across communities, cutting across age, income and circumstances.

“We have become a nation of volunteers during the Covid crisis. And - judging by the millions who plan to continue after the lockdown - it is a change that is here to stay.”

National charity the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has been working with Legal & General throughout the current crisis, connecting the firm’s staff with volunteering opportunities around the UK.

Sam Ward, RVS director of services, said: “As restrictions ease for some, many older and vulnerable people will remain isolating at home, in desperate need of practical support, mental stimulation and companionship. Royal Voluntary Service has mobilised to respond to coronavirus through a massive, co-ordinated volunteer effort. The public response has been a beacon of hope during this crisis with legions of people stepping forward to volunteer and help others.

“Our volunteer army is needed more than ever before to meet the need older people continue to face now, and over the coming months as they try to rebuild their lives.”