Delaying retirement will stop older people volunteering
01 June 2006
by Online Recruitment

London, UK: Delaying the retirement age will prevent people from volunteering in later life, potentially robbing the voluntary movement of a huge army of retired volunteers and leaving many public and community services unstaffed, says a new YouGov survey for Volunteering England to mark the launch of Volunteers’ Week.

The YouGov/Volunteering England poll reveals that nearly 70 per cent of working people who gave a view in England believe that because they may need to work longer before retirement they will be less likely to volunteer once in retirement.

More than 69 per cent of people aged between 30 and 50 – the group most affected by recent changes in the policy on pensions – also believe that they will be less likely to volunteer because they will have to work longer.

Currently, 50 per cent - more than 2 million - of retired people aged between 65 to 74 volunteer, according to the latest Home Office citizenship survey. Most report that they want to put their spare time to good use by volunteering in a range of roles from befriending and home visiting, driving and escorting patients from hospital to their homes.

Yet the survey shows that people believe that later retirement will stop them undertaking these important roles.

Christopher Spence, Chief Executive of Volunteering England, said: “It is of real concern that people believe they will not be able to volunteer when they retire because they have to work longer. Retired people who volunteer provide essential support to many public and community services. If this perception is borne out by reality then the voluntary movement will need to do more to make volunteering opportunities more flexible to meet the needs of busy working people.”

The survey also found, however, that more than 70 per cent of working people who gave a view in England would be more willing to do voluntary work if the opportunities were more flexible and able to fit in with busy modern lives and work commitments.

Christopher Spence said: “Evidence shows that more people are interested in episodic volunteering. Long-term commitment to volunteering still plays an important role, but the challenge for the voluntary movement is to appeal to people with only a limited amount of time on their hands.”

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