Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Doing One's Duty: Why People Volunteer In A Deprived Community

08.08.2006
In recent years the government has been pushing volunteering as a way of reconnecting people with the labour market. However, in a recent study published today and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, researchers argue that this understanding is too narrow. Most people volunteer to make a difference in the community rather than for career development.

While many volunteers may describe what they do as work, there are some key distinctions. Not least the fact that many volunteers are beyond the labour market - for reasons of age, disability or care responsibilities. Policy focused on volunteering as training for the labour market risks excluding and discouraging those who can't work.

The study found that volunteering plays a valuable role in developing social capital within communities. Volunteering enhances the levels of active citizenship and community spirit in an area and helps people build up a sense of belonging to a place.

On a personal level volunteering also develops an individual's self-confidence and provides a structure for their lives - getting them out of the house and interacting within the community. While being driven by different motivations, volunteering provides the sense of meaning and identity that many people find in a satisfying job.

The study was carried out by Professor Irene Hardill from Nottingham Trent University and Dr Susan Baines from Newcastle University. They employed an innovative and detailed methodology to spend extended periods of time interviewing and working alongside four different groups of volunteers and programme organisers in one of the most deprived areas of the English Midlands.

The researchers identified four main motivations for volunteering:

1. Mutual aid - people volunteered to help those within their own community. They want to put something back;

2. Philanthropy - people from outside the community volunteered out of a sense of altruism. They felt fortunate and wanted to make a difference;

3. 'Getting by' - people volunteered in reaction to a personal need or as a result of an individual life event like retirement or bereavement. This is volunteering as a form of self-help;

4. 'Getting on' - people who volunteer as a way of developing new skills and experiences that are valued in the labour market. This is volunteering to get a job or for career development.

In successive government policy initiatives like the New Deal and Sure Start New Labour have been steadily pushing volunteering as a way of 'getting on' in the labour market. The government believes that volunteering offers opportunities to develop skills and credentials, and to foster a work ethic.

However, this study found that this type of motivation was the least common amongst those they interviewed and worked with. Instead, most volunteers want to make a difference out of an ethic of care - expressed as mutual aid or philanthropy. Fewer people volunteer for career development than the government might expect.

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>