20 September 2004
Doing voluntary work not only makes the individual feel good but can raise the happiness levels of a whole community, according to new research.
A survey of 101 randomly selected district authorities found those with the best quality of life had high levels of informal community activity.
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".
Know more about the survey
From: BBC News Online