Spirit of neighbourhood volunteering

The spirit of neighbourhood volunteering remains a legacy from last year’s 2012 London Olympic Games, but community organisations are missing out from the goodwill bonanza, research has shown.

A Populus survey of 2,049 UK adults suggests 33 percent of people feel goodwill within their local community has increased in the past year, with 62 percent of the public contributing through some form of voluntary activity in the last twelve months.

According to a poll commissioned by financial services firm Zurich, although the number of men offering their time and efforts soared by 13 percent to 61 percent between 2012 and 2013, women are still more likely to volunteer, with the proportion rising from 60 to 63 percent over this time.

However, the findings suggest most forms of volunteering remain confined to casual help, such watering a neighbours plants or feeding their pets. Formal support for local community organisations, such as staffing a charity shop or mentoring young people, has increased from 27 percent to 33 percent.

A separate survey of 41 local charities and voluntary bodies undertaken by insurers Zurich Municipal through the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) reinforced the lack of growth in formal voluntary support.

46 percent of those surveyed said they had seen no change in public attitudes towards community engagement, a situation which could stymie the desire of the two thirds of third sector bodies, which said they wanted to take on more responsibility for delivering local statutory services.