The Volunteering Gap

The Volunteering Gap

Regional variations in volunteering in England

November 2012

The 2012 Olympics placed the role of volunteering firmly in the public spotlight. In contrast, however, many community groups and local projects struggle to attract volunteers to support their work, particulary where this involves helping people in need.

We wanted to find out the extent to which people give their time as volunteers, and what they volunteer for. The Government's Citizenship Survey, which typically includes this data, was scrapped this year so we commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey a representative cohort of adults across England.

Church Urban Fund has previously shown that poverty and deprivation occur across England, even within areas that are considered to be relatively affluent, and we were interested in the overlap between social need and frequency of volunteering.

Key Findings:

  • Only a third (33%) of people volunteered for any kind of group or project
  • Only 17% of people gave their time to charities or community groups
  • More people in the north of England volunteered to help the socially disadvantaged compared with the south.


If you use this data set in support of other research, please cite 'The Volunteering Gap - Church Urban Fund and Ipsos MORI'.