Volunteering affects young people’s wellbeing

  • 97% of young volunteers feel happier
  • 83% feel more responsible
  • 77% say volunteering has improved their confidence
  • 46% say their self-esteem has benefitted

A survey from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) reveals today that volunteering can have a significant positive effect on the wellbeing of young people with 97% of respondents saying that regular volunteering makes them happy and 83% putting this down to feeling responsible, 77% to more confidence and 46% to improved self-esteem.

The survey shows that some typical leisure pursuits don’t bring young people as much enjoyment as volunteering, with 48% of young volunteers getting more out of their volunteering than buying new clothes.

Whilst helping other people is predictably the most popular reason to volunteer, with over half citing this as the main motive, a third said that they volunteer to feel good about themselves and 97% said that regular volunteering gives them a sense of achievement.

92% of young people say that they feel satisfied with the way their life is heading and 88% of those believe that it is their regular volunteering that helps towards this satisfaction.

The DofE survey, which sourced the views of over 7000 young people volunteering as part of their DofE programme, demonstrates the important effect the experience can have on the volunteer as well as the group or organisation that benefits.

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award said: “These survey results underline the double benefit of volunteering and how it can really help a young person at a crucial stage of their lives. In our formative years we encounter many challenges including going through puberty, making friends and taking exams that can affect our mental and physical health.”

“Volunteering gives young people a greater sense of purpose and fosters a greater sense of wellbeing, helping them to grow into active, content and compassionate adults.”

Sarah, who achieved her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award whilst at Heathrow, said: “I’ve been through some really difficult and life-changing times at the hands of mental illness, and when I nearly lost my Dad to it, I knew I couldn’t let it get the better of me. DofE has given me the platform to my ‘best self’, who only sees life’s obstacles as an opportunity, not a limitation. I have grown in confidence and now enjoy many of the things I used to fear. My Gold DofE Award has given me the self-belief to tackle my fears head on.”

Through the DofE over 300,000 young people volunteer in their communities each year. The Charity has an ambition to reach out to many more young people in the future so that they too can benefit from the personal development opportunities a DofE programme offers.


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