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Cost-of-living crisis sees almost 1 in 4 BAME volunteers cutting hours

Melanie May | 4 September 2023 | News

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A survey by Human Appeal into BAME volunteers in the UK has found that 38% have reduced their hours over the last 12 months due to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. This is compared to 30% of non-BAME volunteers.

Human Appeal surveyed 1,003 UK volunteers for its report, and over 30% self-identified as BAME, 65% as non-BAME, and 5% unsure.

47% of BAME volunteers who now volunteer less said they made this change because they now need to spend more time working in their paid employment. 22% said they could no longer afford the costs related to volunteering, and 41% had new responsibilities directly related to the effects of the crisis, which left them with no spare time for volunteering. 22% also felt too exhausted or disenchanted to volunteer.


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At the same time, over one third (36%) said that they are volunteering more as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, compared to 23% of non-BAME volunteers.


The survey also found that, on average, BAME individuals volunteer more frequently than non-BAME individuals, particularly in the areas of healthcare, childcare and education.

BAME volunteers are also three times more likely than average to donate their time to working with refugees than those who do not identify as from BAME backgrounds, and twice as likely to give their time to climate change initiatives.


When asked about their motivations for volunteering, a quarter (25%) of BAME volunteers agree volunteering helps improve their mental health, while 40% enjoy volunteering as it helps them gain new skills, and similar levels (38%) enjoy that it introduces them to new people.

For over half (54%) of all UK volunteers surveyed, the greatest benefit enjoyed was a greater sense of community.

Commenting on the research, Owais Khan, Deputy CEO of Human Appeal, said: 

“Charity volunteers face many challenges, and we commissioned this research to broaden our understanding of their ever-changing needs and the pressures they are under. In our findings, it is remarkable to see the tremendous commitment and engagement of both BAME and all UK volunteers in supporting their local causes with passion and dedication. While it is disheartening to witness the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on these caring individuals, it presents an opportunity for greater levels of support from the wider charitable sector.”