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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.

Three quarters of Scots have volunteered during Covid-19

This news post is over 1 year old

New research by Volunteer Scotland has revealed the transformational impact the coronavirus has had on volunteering

The impact of Covid-19 on volunteering in Scotland has been revealed.

Volunteer Scotland has produced new research which shows how the pandemic has transformed the way people are volunteering.

It shows a large contraction of formal volunteering due to social distancing, lockdown and shielding. The OSCR Covid-19 Charity Impact Survey 2020 of 21,000 charities in Scotland highlighted that 41% had seen a decrease in their volunteer numbers and only 7% an increase.

However, this decline in formal volunteering during this crisis has been more than offset by the appetite of Scotland’s people to help out in other ways, the new research has shown. More than 50,000 Scots signed up to the Scotland Cares Campaign, which aims to support communities and the NHS throughout the pandemic.

There has also been an influx of new groups specifically formed in response to the pandemic. More than 200 mutual aid groups have been registered under the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK initiative and there is also hundreds of other groups not registered but operating through WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

Three quarters of adults (74%) said they had been involved in volunteering between March and June. The survey, carried out by Ipsos-Mori, showed informal volunteering has been by far the most popular form of support during Covid-19, with 35% of people helping family, friends or the wider community.

The top three volunteering activities from March to June 2020 were: 68% of volunteers – befriending or keeping in touch with someone who is at risk of being lonely; 57% of volunteers – doing food shopping; and 30% of volunteers – helping with household chores such as cleaning and gardening.

The data showed that many Scots expect to continue their activities after the pandemic comes to an end. Total volunteering is expected to increase from 48% to 59%, with formal volunteering up from 26% to 37% and informal volunteering expected to increase from 36% to 47%.

Matthew Linning, head of research at Volunteer Scotland, said: “Given the unprecedented scale of coronavirus, the long-term societal and economic challenges it presents and the emerging evidence on the amazing contribution of volunteering, it's not an overstatement to say we have ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity for volunteering’.

“Not only can we ensure that volunteering plays its full part in addressing the health and wellbeing and economic challenges identified in the TSI Scotland Network Coronavirus Survey, but we can help achieve a long-term change in society where the intrinsic values embedded in volunteering of reciprocity, mutuality and kindness come to the fore.

“As articulated in Communities vs Coronavirus - the rise of mutual aid, to achieve this goal will require a new approach for community engagement which capitalises on achievements to date and helps deliver a lasting legacy beyond Covid-19.”



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over 1 year ago
This is great to see! Genuinely nice to see an example of people wanting to use this opportunity to create and experience a sense of community in a situation where the world governments seem to have done the opposite.