New report reveals extraordinary impact volunteers make to communities, contributing £4 billion to the UK’s economy in just three years

29 Jul 2021 01:43 PM

A new report published yesterday by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, reveals the extraordinary social and economic impact volunteers make to communities. Almost two million volunteers, from charities supported through the grant maker in the past three years*, have contributed an astonishing £4 billion to the UK’s economy.

The report, named Power in Purpose, reveals that in the past five years** The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded 4,200 grants to support volunteering, amounting to almost £700 million in National Lottery, government and third-party funding.

1,500 of these grants, totalling £124 million, supported the volunteering response to COVID-19. This not only provided charities and community groups with vital volunteers to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic, but also gave individuals the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experiences, improving their employment prospects.

The number of volunteering grants The National Lottery Community Fund awarded between 2013 and 2019 increased by almost two thirds*** (64%), supporting more and more organisations to provide training, cover volunteer expenses and remove barriers, creating a better volunteering experience accessible for all. 94% of its grantholders involved volunteers in delivering their projects last year****, highlighting the impact they have on communities and in the voluntary and community sector.

Volunteering has huge benefits, from improving people’s confidence and self-esteem, to building their resilience and raising aspirations. It can also provide people with a sense of purpose and new friendships, reducing isolation and loneliness.

Jane, aged 44, from Sheffield, is just one of almost 20,000 volunteers who have given 630,000 hours of their time to help reduce loneliness amongst people aged over 50, through the seven-year (2015 – 2022), £87 million Ageing Better programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Last year, Jane began volunteering as a telephone befriender with Age Better in Sheffield and South Yorkshire Housing Association. Jane was matched with Betty, aged 91, and they spoke every day, sharing their experiences of both living alone during tough times in lockdown.

Click here for the full press release