Helping each other is on the rise

“A volunteer can be simply a good neighbour.” The author of this sentence is unknown, but recent statistics seem to agree. According to a Cabinet Office study, people prefer to volunteer within their neighbourhood rather than with a national charity.

The Community Life Survey found that from the 72 per cent of people who admitted to have volunteered in the last 12 months, 62 per cent of them choose to volunteer within their local community.

Sarah Elie, the Executive Director of Somers Town Community Association is not surprised with the statistics’ results.

“More and more people are coming to the volunteering sector in community centres to get support,” she says.

The community association, located in King’s Cross, has been growing faster and faster.

“People are coming to us for different reasons, and they all come from our local community.”

Sarah Elie believes that the local community groups around the country are really important, but due to Government budgets, they are difficult to maintain.

However, she says that they are “very lucky that Camden funds its volunteering sector very well.”

 

how many people volunteer

 

social projects1

 

percentage

Source: Community Life Survey from the Cabinet Office

(Click in the images for the interactive data)

Sarah says these centres are great opportunities to young people “to meet new people and to boast their CV showing employers that they have initiative spirit.”

The Community Organiser Programme powered by the Government is an important help to people feel welcome in their local areas. Community organisers generate social action, by listening to local people and encouraging them to get more involved in their own community.

Amanda Clare, 27, is one of the Community Organisers in Essex. The volunteer helps putting together community events and actions. Amanda also talks to locals who need some emotional support.

“I’ve started volunteering last year. It makes me feel better about myself and I learn about people around me. I would recommend it to anyone,” she says.

The Government’s initiative has been an important incentive to bring people together in their local communities.

This project is also one of the reasons behind the rising number of people feeling more welcome and supported in their neighbouroud.

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The logo of the Community Organiser Programme. Photo: COP website

The general sense of local belonging is growing around the UK, the study released last year found. 8 in 10 people (78 per cent) had a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood and 62 per cent felt that people in their local area pulled together to improve the local area.

People interested in becoming a  Community Organiser can apply here.

Jessica Fino

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