Volunteering has socioeconomic benefits, as well as being good for individuals

"We have supported over 400 voluntary groups over a 12 month period.  We have supported over 2,000 people to access volunteering over a 12 month period"

The HACT Social Value calculator estimates the social value of 2,000 volunteers over 12 months to be £4,664,861. Volunteering has huge benefits both for the individuals that do the volunteering, and for wider society.

According to a paper produced by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013, not being able to volunteer equates to a 1.9% reduction in life satisfaction. The negative impact of not being able to volunteer on life satisfaction is similar to the effect of being divorced and about a third of the effect of being unemployed.

The Citizens Advice Bureau have carried out some research into the value that people get out of volunteering with them - and there are particular positive impacts on mental health. 3 in 5 people who volunteered have said that it made them less stressed, and 4 in 5 believe volunteering has had a positive effect on their physical or mental health.

A June 2011 resource produced by the Big Lottery Fund identifies a number of benefits of volunteering to the individual, which are:

  • Better mental and physical health
  • Lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression in later life
  • Positive effect on sense of purpose and happiness
  • Maintaining independence during the ageing process
  • A causal relationship betwwen volunteering and wellbeing
  • Development of soft skills such as confidence, self-esteem, raised aspiration

There are an estimated 44,762 filled trustee and volunteer positions in Southwark. This is a contribution of 5,176,860 hours per year. If all of the volunteers were being paid the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour, their work would cost £47,368,269 per year.