- Over nine million people are considering volunteering over the festive period, with 1.2 million intending to volunteer on Christmas Day
- Nearly half of respondents believe more people should gift their time to help others, rather than spending money on gifts
- Royal Voluntary Service hopes to inspire more people to gift their time throughout the year
New research from national volunteering charity, Royal Voluntary Service, finds nearly one in five (17%) adults in Great Britain plan to volunteer over the Christmas period, with 14% intending to volunteer on Christmas Day itself. Of those who plan to volunteer, nearly three quarters (74%) intend to donate at least three hours of their time during the festivities and just over one in 10 (11%) will gift more than 10 hours.
The research also explored people’s thoughts around present giving at Christmas and reveals the selfless nature of our nation – 54% of respondents say the gift of time to help others is the most valuable gift you can give and nearly half (49%) believe more people should consider gifting their time to help others, rather than just spending on gifts. Two fifths (40%) also say they would prefer someone to donate their money or time to a good cause at Christmas rather than spending it on them.
On the back of the study, Royal Voluntary Service is hoping to inspire people to extend their goodwill by encouraging them to volunteer a few hours each week or month, throughout the year. Specifically, the charity wants to harness the public’s giving spirit to support its work with the NHS and those in later life, citing the huge difference just a few hours can make to someone’s life.
Rebecca Kennelly, Director of Volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Christmas can bring out our altruistic side, and volunteering is one of the most generous gifts you can give. It offers enormous value for the person making the gift, and to those receiving it: it changes lives, changes communities and changes society. It is wonderful to see so many people plan to volunteer this Christmas, and we’d welcome more of this generosity throughout the year. The sense of purpose and joy that can be derived from volunteering and supporting others is incomparable.
“Whether it’s providing an older person with company at home or running a gentle exercise class on a hospital ward, our volunteers make a tangible difference to so many people, with millions of small acts of kindness. We would love to welcome more volunteers into our family in 2019.”
Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and in the community. The simple acts of kindness the volunteers provide, whether popping in for tea and a chat, helping out with a lift to a GP or social appointment or running chair-based exercises on ward, help make communities stronger and relieve the pressure on overstretched public services. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.
If you’d like more information about volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service in 2019, to find social activities in your area or to donate to support their work, visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk