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Gen Z most likely to volunteer, Oxfam survey suggests

Melanie May | 14 November 2022 | News

Oxfam map of UK showing most popular towns for volunteering

Gen Z is the most generous in donating their time to charity, followed closely by Millennials, research commissioned by Oxfam shows.

Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents up to the age of 25 said they have volunteered for charity in some way. In comparison, 55% of Millennial respondents, 39% of Gen X respondents and 28% of Baby Boomer respondents reported that they have volunteered.

Oxfam surveyed 2,000 people across the country and found that 42% said they have volunteered their time to charity in some way. Of this number, a quarter have volunteered in a charity shop.


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The average amount of hours which people volunteer within the top cities of Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Plymouth, per year, is: Belfast (216 hours), Edinburgh (285 hours), Glasgow (279 hours) and Plymouth (288 hours).

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the first UK Oxfam shop opening in 1947 in Oxford’s Broad Street. There are now over 500 Oxfam shops operating across the UK, supported by volunteers.

Over two thirds (70%) of respondents said gave up their time in exchange for friendship, social interaction, and to tackle feelings of loneliness. Over two in five volunteers also said giving up their time to a charity can help to: keep them active (22%); and help with mental health and wellbeing (21%).

Other top responses include: “it allows me to support a charity I’m passionate about” (28%), “I like to make a difference in my local community” (28%) and “for a sense of purpose” (27%).

However, the survey also showed the cost of living to be a potential threat to people’s volunteering, with 44% of respondents saying the crisis could impact their ‘ability’ and ‘willingness’ to volunteer with a charity.

Oxfam is hoping to encourage more people to volunteer in its shops over the Christmas period. Actor Gurlaine Kaur Garcha recently helped out in one of its shops to help raise awareness of the need for volunteers and the opportunities.

In response to the survey findings, Lorna Fallon, Director of Retail at Oxfam, said: 

“From our research, it’s promising to see that so many people have given up their time to support charities through volunteering and that, for many people, this has brought friendships, a sense of purpose, and a positive impact on their health and wellness.


“At Oxfam, volunteers are at the heart of our movement to end poverty around the world, and we rely on them to keep our UK shops thriving. In the lead up to our busiest time of year, Christmas, we encourage people across the country to consider a volunteer role with us, where they can help to make a real difference and fight poverty globally in the process.”