Legal & General’s Isolation Economy study, conducted by Cebr, found that one in every five UK adults (19%) has volunteered their time for community-level activities or organisations since the start of the lockdown on 23 March. This includes nearly a quarter (23%) of furloughed workers, and represents the equivalent economic value of £357 million a week according to the report.
67% of volunteers are helping with grocery shopping for others and a quarter (26%) have collected and delivered medicines or prescriptions. 16% of those donating their time have volunteered to make calls to people to help combat loneliness. According to the study, all of this activity is separate to the actions of those people serving in the formal NHS volunteer programme.
Age-wise, more than a fifth (22%) of those aged between 35 and 54 have been volunteering, along with 18% of over-55s. Millennials, while the least likely to volunteer (17%), gave up the most time – an average of 3.5 hours a week on grocery shopping and 4.4 hours if volunteering in other ways.
Nigel Wilson, CEO at Legal & General said:
“Being more isolated has made us also more inclusive. Britain’s community spirit has doubled down in lockdown, forging an informal army of volunteers who are now a key part of our national infrastructure in the crisis. Individuals and families have come together and created new ties across communities, cutting across age, income and circumstances.
“We have become a nation of volunteers during the Covid crisis. And – judging by the millions who plan to continue after the lockdown – it is a change that is here to stay.”
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