Scottish Household Survey: Annual Report - Results from 2007

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12 Volunteering

INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT

The rate of volunteering has been higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK and other European Countries. Despite this, demand for volunteers exceeds supply. Additionally some people, in particular those from disadvantaged groups, are under-represented in volunteering. The Scottish Government's Volunteering Strategy 65 includes an aim to work with other organisations to embed a culture of volunteering in Scotland. A key element of the strategy is ongoing monitoring to ensure key issues around volunteering are identified and addressed by appropriate organisations.

As part of the monitoring activity, the Scottish Household Survey includes a range of questions on volunteering, which were revised at the start of 2007. This included a number of detailed revisions to individual questions and, primarily, referring to providing unpaid help rather than volunteering. The questions gather information on the prevalence and frequency of volunteering, the type of organisations and activities for which individuals give up time, and the reasons for, and for not, volunteering.

The results of those questions are presented in this chapter. Firstly differences in the percentage of those giving up time to provide unpaid help are examined by gender, current economic situation, net household income and area deprivation. Further details of the volunteering activities are then presented. This includes the types of organisations for which volunteering is undertaken and the types of activities carried out, as well as the hours spent in the previous month volunteering.

PROVIDING UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS

Prevalence of providing unpaid help

As Table 12.1 shows, three in ten adults (30%) have provided unpaid help to organisations or individuals in the last 12 months. There is little difference between men and women in this respect.

TABLE 12.1: WHETHER PROVIDED UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS BY GENDER
Column percentages, 2007 data

Adults

Male

Female

All

Yes

28

32

30

No

72

68

70

Total

100

100

100

Base

2,763

3,570

6,333

This question is only asked of half the sample.

Broadly similar percentages of men and women overall volunteer, and this is true for most age groups (Figure 12.1). Just over one quarter (27%) of women aged 16 to 24 provide unpaid help, rising to 38% of those aged 35 to 44, the peak age group for women volunteering. There is less apparent variation among men of different ages in the percentage providing unpaid help. After the age of 74, providing unpaid help declines; 17% of men and women aged 75 and over have provided unpaid help to organisations or individuals in the last 12 months.

FIGURE 12.1: PERCENTAGE PROVIDING UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS BY AGE WITHIN GENDER
2007 Data, Adults (base: 6333)

FIGURE 12.1: PERCENTAGE PROVIDING UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS BY AGE WITHIN GENDER
There is also variation in volunteering according to the current economic status of individuals. Unpaid help is most likely to be provided by those in work. Adults who are permanently sick or disabled or are unemployed are less likely to provide unpaid help; 15% of the former and 20% of the latter do so (Table 12.2). These results appear to corroborate to some extent existing knowledge about disadvantaged groups volunteering less than others.

TABLE 12.2: WHETHER PROVIDED UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS BY CURRENT ECONOMIC SITUATION
Column percentages, 2007 data

Adults

Self-
employed

Full-time
employment

Part-time
employment

Looking
after
home/
family

Permanently
retired
from work

Unemployed
and seeking
work

Higher/
further
education

Permanently
sick or
disabled

All

Yes

37

33

35

31

27

20

33

15

30

No

63

67

65

69

73

80

67

85

70

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Base

351

2,038

618

392

2,030

212

183

361

6,333

Some categories of current economic situation not shown due to low base sizes (< 100).
This question is only asked of half the sample.

Area level deprivation is another way of identifying disadvantaged adults. 66 As Table 12.3 shows, prevalence of providing unpaid help is much lower for those in 15% most deprived areas (15%) than in the rest of Scotland (33%), providing further confirmation of the under-representation of disadvantaged groups in volunteering.

TABLE 12.3: WHETHER PROVIDED UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS BY SCOTTISH INDEX OF MULTIPLE DEPRIVATION
Column percentages, 2007 data

Adults

15% most
deprived

Rest of
Scotland

Scotland

Yes

15

33

30

No

85

67

70

Total

100

100

100

Base

887

5,449

6,336

This question is only asked of half the sample.

Finally in this section, Table 12.4 explores differences in providing unpaid help to organisations or individuals according to net annual household income. Adults in households having an income of up to £15,000 are less likely to volunteer than those in other income groups - a maximum of just under a quarter (23%). By contrast, getting on towards half (47%) of those with a household income of more than £40,000 have provided unpaid help in the last 12 months. As outlined in Chapter 6, older people are more likely to have lower household incomes therefore the pattern evident in Table 12.4 will in part reflect the fact that people aged 75 and over are also the least likely to provide unpaid help.

TABLE 12.4: WHETHER PROVIDED UNPAID HELP TO ORGANISATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS BY NET ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Column percentages, 2007 data

Adults

£0-
£6,000

£6,001-
£10,000

£10,001-
£15,000

£15,001-
£20,000

£20,001-
£25,000

£25,001-
£30,000

£30,001-
£40,000

£40,001+

All*

Yes

22

22

23

31

28

32

35

47

31

No

78

78

77

69

72

68

65

53

69

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Base

367

966

1,238

904

708

519

753

643

6,098

This question is only asked of half the sample.
* All includes all adults for whom household income is known or has been imputed.
Household income in the SHS is that of the highest income householder and their partner only.

Details of the unpaid help provided

In this section the types of organisations for which help is provided and the types of activities undertaken is explored. The total number of hours provided in the last four weeks is also identified. Differences in all of these are examined by area deprivation.

The types of organisations for which adults provide unpaid help are examined in Table 12.5, ranked in descending order for Scotland as a whole. Working with organisations connected to children, either through schools (24%) or other youth and children's organisations (22%) are the most common form of volunteering. The next most common is religion-based organisations, where 18% have provided unpaid help to such organisations.

There is some apparent variation by deprivation level, although given the relatively small sample size of the 15% most deprived area, most of these differences could have occurred by chance. The largest difference which is significant, is found in the percentage providing help to organisations involved in sport or exercise; 5% in the 15% most deprived areas have provided help to such organisations in the last 12 months compared with 14% in the rest of Scotland.

TABLE 12.5: TYPES OF ORGANISATIONS OR GROUPS FOR WHICH ADULTS PROVIDED HELP FOR IN LAST 12 MONTHS BY SCOTTISH INDEX OF MULTIPLE DEPRIVATION
Column percentage, 2007 data

Adults

15% most
deprived

Rest of
Scotland

Scotland

Childrens activities associated with schools

23

24

24

Youth/children

18

22

22

Religion

14

18

18

Health, disability and social welfare

13

15

15

Hobbies/recreation/arts/social clubs

15

15

15

Local community or neighbourhood groups

18

15

15

The elderly

18

14

14

Sport/exercise (coaching or organising)

5

14

14

The environment, animals

2

6

6

Education for adults

2

4

4

Citizens groups

2

4

4

Safety, first aid

2

3

3

Justice and human rights

5

3

3

Politics

2

3

3

Trade union activities

1

2

2

None of these

6

5

5

Base

140

1,792

1,932

This question is only asked of half the sample.
Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses allowed.

In Table 12.6 the types of unpaid activity adults have undertaken are also explored, shown in descending order for Scotland as a whole. Those volunteering provide general help as well as undertaking more specific roles. In fact, over a third (36%) of those providing unpaid work say they 'generally help out', the largest percentage of any activity. Also, almost a quarter (23%) say they do 'whatever is required'. One third of adults raise money and almost three in ten (29%) help to organise or run events or activities.

The types of activities undertaken when adults provide unpaid work appear to vary for some activities by deprivation levels. As was the case with the results presented in the previous table, in most cases, this variation could have occurred by chance. One of the largest differences that is significant, is in helping to organise or run events or activities (18% in the most deprived areas compared with 30% in the rest of Scotland).

TABLE 12.6: TYPES OF UNPAID ACTIVITY ADULTS HAVE UNDERTAKEN IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS BY SCOTTISH INDEX OF MULTIPLE DEPRIVATION
Column percentage, 2007 data

Adults

15% most
deprived

Rest of
Scotland

Scotland

Generally helping out

45

35

36

Raising money

26

33

33

Helping to organize or run events or activities

18

30

29

Doing whatever is required

23

23

23

Committee work

13

22

22

Providing advice or assistance to others

18

15

16

Education or training or coaching

9

14

13

Office work or administration

5

12

11

Visiting, buddying or befriending people

9

9

9

Providing transport or driving

7

7

7

Managing, organising or co-ordinating other unpaid helpers

5

7

7

Providing direct services (e.g. meals on wheels, doing odd jobs)

7

7

7

Campaigning

6

4

4

Counselling

5

4

4

Representing others

2

5

4

IT Support

7

3

3

Advocacy

-

2

2

None

4

3

3

Base

136

1,718

1,854

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses allowed.
This question was asked of half the sample.

Table 12.7 shows the number of hours of unpaid work provided in the last four weeks. Almost eight in ten (79%) across the whole of Scotland provided unpaid help for 15 hours or less; under four hours per week on average across the four weeks. This does not vary greatly according to deprivation level.

TABLE 12.7: TOTAL NUMBER OF HOURS OF UNPAID WORK PROVIDED IN THE LAST 4 WEEKS BY SCOTTISH INDEX OF MULTIPLE DEPRIVATION
Column percentage, 2007 data

Adults

15% most
deprived

Rest of
Scotland

Scotland

Less than an hour

19

12

13

Up to 5 hours

38

43

43

6 to 10 hours

12

16

16

11 to 15 hours

6

7

7

16 to 20 hours

9

7

7

21 to 35 hours

4

6

6

36 hours or more

9

5

6

Don't know

3

3

3

Total

100

100

100

Base

124

1,603

1,727

This question was asked of half the sample.