Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Doing one's duty: Why people volunteer in a deprived community

09.08.2006
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 | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>