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UK’s over 50s spend 807mn days a year caring or volunteering

Melanie May | 13 January 2023 | News

Members of Sustainable Merton tend their community allotment. © Matt Writtle 2021
Members of Sustainable Merton tend their community allotment. © Matt Writtle 2021

Over 50s in the UK give a total of 807 million days of unpaid time a year caring or volunteering for others, worth over £66 billion, according to a survey by Saga.

The study, based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 over 50s in the UK found that nearly one quarter of those interviewed volunteer on a formal or ad hoc basis. Around a third of those volunteering regularly (33%) give at least three days a month. The same is true of one in six (16%) of those volunteering more informally.

The range of activities undertaken varies, with many running an activity or event, helping with secretarial or administrative work or giving advice, counselling or mentoring. Across the whole over 50s population, this equates to 135.4 million days of volunteering per year, equating to over £11 billion if volunteers were paid the living wage.

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The 65 and overs are just as active with at least one in five (22%) of them caring for others and an equivalent proportion (21%) volunteering. Overall, the hours the 65s and overs give to caring and volunteering brings about £20 billion to the UK economy, according to Saga.

Lisa Edgar, Chief Insight Officer at Saga, said:

“Britain is a generous nation and people over 50 are our hidden volunteering superpower. Far from winding down or stepping back, the reality is that the more experienced you are, the more you can – and do – give back to society. Experience really is everything – in this case the data shows the over 50s powering a more altruistic society.”

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