Volunteer’s Week 2019: 57% of us DON’T give back to communities

  • More than half of Brits (57%) do not give up their free time to help the community
  • 35% blame parental duties as the biggest barrier stopping any time for volunteer work
  • But 33% would like to give up their free time this year

While Volunteers’ Week from 1st to 7th June will seek to acknowledge the 23 million people across the UK who willingly give up their time to help their local communities, a worrying 57% of us don’t volunteer at all.

Analysis from financial services mutual, Foresters Friendly Society, found there are several barriers stopping people from volunteering and giving back to their local communities.  These include time pressures due to work or parenting commitments, a lack of experience and confidence volunteering and being unable to afford the perceived associated costs.

In fact, 35% are so pressured for time outside of their day jobs or when juggling childcare duties that they are left without room to consider any volunteer work at all. While experience as a volunteer could be developed over time, 13% are concerned about their lack of know-how when approaching volunteer work.

What’s more, while most extracurricular activities carry a minimal cost of £13 per week on average, there remains 10% who are concerned about affording additional payments.

Contributing to this lack of take up is the 21% of Brits who believe the government hold ultimate responsibility for promoting community support, not the volunteers themselves. 

However, in recognition of the significant 33% considering volunteer work this year and to ensure awareness of its benefits is spread across the UK, Foresters Friendly Society has launched their nationwide Unsung Hero campaign and competition.

Open now and running until midnight on the 7th June 2019, the competition is open to both members of Foresters Friendly Society and the public, who can nominate either themselves or someone they know who participates in regular volunteer or selfless acts on behalf of their community.

The winner will be presented with a choice of Virgin Experience Days, worth up to £2,000. Whether that’s helicopter flying, sportscar racing or time spent at a luxury spa, these experiences are guaranteed to make the winner feel truly super – be it they want an adrenaline fuelled day or time to sit and relax!

Foresters Unsung Heroes campaign and competition will give a voice and platform to those who may go unrecognised for their selfless volunteer work or deeds done to help benefit their local community.

Whether it’s individuals in the armed forces, charity and community services, or activities such as running after-school clubs, charity fundraising or conservation work, the campaign and competition will celebrate individuals’ commitment to support their community.

To enter, participants need only to complete a short online questionnaire available via the competition entry page: www.forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk/unsungheroes

Participants can also look out for reminders on Foresters’ social channels, using the hashtag #ForestersUnsungHeroes

Myles Edwards, Membership Director for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “Not only are volunteering activities helpful to others, but there are personal and social benefits in taking up such activities. Aside from the satisfaction of helping those in need, volunteering can also open the door to creating wider friendships and expand a person’s skill set or general knowledge.

“As a friendly society, we pride ourselves in catering for not just our members, but also our communities. We have launched the Unsung Heroes campaign to bring further awareness to those selfless individuals who put others before themselves daily and actively contribute to their local communities. In launching our campaign, we hope others will feel inspired to give back, whether that’s spending time to help clean up your local town, or even just getting in touch with those who might feel lonely. We encourage our members and the public to show their appreciation for our real-life heroes whose identity, for the time being, might be unknown.”


2,002 UK adults were surveyed by Opinium research company, between 5th February to 8th February 2019.