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Volunteering has Positive Impact on Well Being of over 50s

28 March 2014

Volunteer Now has launched a new report produced by Dr Anne Tracey of the University of Ulster,  which highlights the positive impact volunteering has on older people.

Unlocking PotentialBilly Eagleson, Manager, Unlocking Potential project said, “We have always believed that volunteering is good for your health and what older, local volunteers have told us for this report supports this belief.  This qualitative report, The Impact of Volunteering  on the Health and well-being of the over 50s in Northern Ireland, supports and complements the findings of a longitudinal study Volunteer Now  launched last year. Both studies were undertaken by the University of Ulster.

He added, “The primary aim of this study was to explore the impact of volunteering on the health and well-being of volunteers.  The study investigated the experiences, perceptions and attitudes of those currently volunteering, non volunteers and those who had stopped volunteering.

The main themes emerging from the study include:

  • Volunteering supports mental and physical health by providing stimulation, something to do, exercise, as well as routine and structure.
  • The social aspect of volunteering is highly valued, providing the opportunity to socially connect thus buffering the effects of depression, loneliness and social isolation.
  • Volunteering has a positive effect on attitudes, stress and coping style.
  • Volunteering takes people out of their own environment, helps them to gain perspective and broaden their outlook.
  • The additional benefits in terms of positive outcomes for volunteers are the feel good factor of making a contribution to the lives of others and being appreciated and valued for what they do.
  • Changes in health, including stroke, contributed to people stopping volunteering

The publication of this report marks the final piece of work undertaken by the Unlocking Potential Project.  Additional information, evidence and research on volunteering for and by older age groups can be found at www.volunteernow.co.uk/volunteering/over-50s-volunteering