The political profile of volunteering has risen sharply in the last decade as a key part of strategies related to civic renewal and building stronger communities. In particular, a range of initiatives have aimed to encourage young people to engage in volunteering.
Research and evaluation that followed has provided a rich set of evidence on why young people volunteer and the benefits associated with this kind of activity. Political attention has focused less on volunteering amongst adults or volunteering in settings where volunteers and beneficiaries are from different age groups.
In light of this policy background, the National Centre for Social Research was commissioned by the Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change (CUBeC) to carry out a qualitative study to explore: the motivations to enter volunteering; the barriers and facilitators to entering and remaining as a volunteer; and the factors that can change behaviour to encourage and retain volunteers.
This report focuses on the three key stages along a route to becoming a volunteer at which points various factors could influence whether or not people volunteer. These were the motivators and de-motivators affecting the initial decision to consider volunteering with young people; the barriers and facilitators to entering volunteering once the motivation is there; and the factors affecting whether individuals continue to be volunteers.