Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The art of happiness...Is volunteering the blueprint for bliss?

20.09.2004


New research indicates that helping others raises quality of life for British Citizens.



When we volunteer our time to do something for others, such as helping out an elderly neighbour or taking part in a local community project, it can be good news for our health, our children’s education and even reduce the local crime rate too.

Recent research funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) has revealed that people who live in areas that record high levels of informal voluntary activity in their neighbourhood, also enjoy better health, students achieve higher GCSE grades and their communities suffer fewer burglaries. Professor Paul Whiteley, Programme Director of the ESRC Democracy & Participation Research Programme that produced the findings explains “The research has revealed an interesting link between helping others and enjoying a good quality of life. It seems that when we focus on the needs of others, we may also reap benefits ourselves. It means that voluntary activity in the community is associated with better health, lower crime, improved educational performance and greater life satisfaction. Communities with lots of civic and community engagement are also communities that have environments that foster favourable outcomes such as these”.


Volunteering has a positive influence, irrespective of a community’s social class or wealth. “A relatively poor community with lots of voluntary activity can do better in relation to health, crime and education than a relatively affluent community which lacks such activity” explains Whiteley. The research also tested for links between voluntary activity and overall life satisfaction or happiness. Again there is a strong link between communities with lots of volunteering and those where people are very satisfied with their lives.

At the top of the happiness league, and who recorded high levels of volunteering activity, are residents of provincial cities such as Bristol, Chester, Aberdeen and Cardiff and those from Home Counties such as South Cambridge and Rutland. Sevenoaks in Kent recorded the highest percentage of those who are ‘very satisfied with life’. Whereas inhabitants of London suburbs such as Luton and Waltham Forest or northern cities like Salford, Carlisle and Hull were the least satisfied with their lot, recording the lowest scores in the life satisfaction stakes.

The Home Secretary, the Rt Hon David Blunkett comments “Volunteering is a growing activity. Government figures show that in 2003, 51 per cent of people in England participated in their community – around 20.3 million people. The equivalent contribution to the economy made by people volunteering formally and informally in their community was around 42.6 billion pounds in 2003. Volunteering clearly has benefits for citizens, families and communities. That is why the Government is developing and strengthening our partnership with the voluntary sector, especially in order to reach out to our most deprived communities”.

The research sample was based on 101 district authorities selected at random.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Bifacial Stem Cells Produce Wood and Bast

Heidelberg researchers study one of the most important growth processes on Earth

So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth – the formation of wood.

Im Focus: Energizing the immune system to eat cancer

Abramson Cancer Center study identifies method of priming macrophages to boost anti-tumor response

Immune cells called macrophages are supposed to serve and protect, but cancer has found ways to put them to sleep. Now researchers at the Abramson Cancer...

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A New Home for Optical Solitons

23.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Graphene and related materials safety: human health and the environment

23.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

Blood test shows promise for early detection of severe lung-transplant rejection

23.01.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>