People who volunteered during the pandemic fared better than those who did not, a new report found.
The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) surveyed 2,500 UK adults in its Volunteering for a Healthier Britain report. It asked about the wellbeing, health, volunteering activity and social connectedness of people to understand whether it had been affected by the pandemic.
The report revealed that the pandemic negatively impacted the health of people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. However, those who volunteered from the same areas fared significantly better, with improved mental health scores.
Its analysis found volunteering to be a “protective factor” which could be “a powerful tool to help address health inequalities”.
Across the study, volunteers scored higher on mental and physical health, wellbeing and social connectedness than non-volunteers.
One-fifth of volunteers felt their mental health was better after the pandemic compared to 11% of non-volunteers.
A quarter of volunteers felt their physical health was better compared to 15% of non-volunteers. 21% of volunteers felt their general wellbeing was better after the pandemic compared to 13% non-volunteers.
Some 15% of volunteers they had “gained confidence socialising with others” since the pandemic versus 6% non-volunteers.