BHF: Charity sees boom in young volunteers
A national charity has seen a boom in younger volunteers since the pandemic ended – as new research suggests Generation Z (people aged 16-24) are more likely to want to help out than any other age group.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF), which has around 16,000 volunteers across its shops and stores, and supporting roles from home, has revealed that over half of its new retail volunteer recruits this year are Gen Z.
It comes as a new survey of 4,000 people in the UK and conducted by Censuswide has highlighted the popularity of volunteering among younger people.
The survey found that over nine in 10 (94 per cent) of Gen Z respondents would consider volunteering, compared with just under three quarters (74 per cent) of Baby Boomers (people aged 59-77+) respondents.
Gen Z respondents felt volunteering would benefit them by boosting their confidence (42 per cent) and improving their mental health (39 per cent). Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Gen Z respondents think volunteering could benefit them through adoption of health lifestyle habits, whereas 1 in 16 (6 per cent) of Baby Boomer respondents said the same.
Flexibility stood out as a key factor for Gen Z when it comes to volunteering, with 37 per cent saying they would be more likely to volunteer if flexible hours were offered, and around a quarter (26 per cent) would consider volunteering from home.
Further results showed that for 30 per cent of respondents, the biggest barrier to volunteering in a charity shop was not having time to commit to it regularly. With flexible roles offered, and even the option to volunteer from home, it’s now much easier for anyone to get involved and try out volunteering at the BHF.
Harry McCaughey, a 17-year-old BHF volunteer from Hampton, initially signed up to gain some work experience and develop his confidence in meeting and socialising with other people. He volunteers at his local shop on the weekends while he studies and loves the social atmosphere and the mix of people and ages in the team. After his A Levels, Harry hopes to go to university and have a career in dermatology.
Harry said: “I started volunteering to meet new people, and it’s been great to get to know people that I wouldn’t otherwise have met and hear advice from those that are older than me. I’d encourage younger people to volunteer, it’s a great way to expand your social circle and build confidence and responsibility at work.”
Sarah Boardman, Retail Volunteering Operations Manager at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said: “Since the pandemic, it’s been great to see consistently high numbers of young people choose to try out volunteering. The flexibility we offers makes it ideal for those looking to gain work experience and build confidence before applying for jobs or heading to university.
“Our easy, flexible, and inclusive approach aims to make volunteering more accessible for all. We encourage everyone to bring their skills to the BHF, whether it’s for one day or one hundred. Whether you want to chat to customers on the shop floor, sort through donations in the stock room, style the mannequins in the window, stay active in the warehouse or research eBay items from home, we have the role for you.”
A recent volunteer photoshoot in Teddington saw the charity use only real volunteers in their images, rather than models, marking a new direction the charity is taking to reflect the real diversity of their volunteers.
To volunteer at the British Heart Foundation, visit bhf.org.uk/volunteer
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