Almost four in 10 Britons volunteer, with the vast majority saying it benefits their mental health and acts as an antidote to loneliness.
“There is an emerging body of evidence that suggests volunteering can improve your mental health and the language I have read is that it can help with depression, life satisfaction and wellbeing,” said Karl Wilding, NCVO’s policy and volunteering director.
“Broadly speaking, it helps as it is a social activity, and when you are doing things with others and groups that conviviality and connectedness is important,” he said, adding that it was most beneficial to people who didn’t have a partner or a job.Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: “Volunteering can be truly transformative for people’s lives. It reduces isolation, improves confidence, provides new experiences, improves employment prospects and fundamentally it’s deeply rewarding. But sadly, those who stand to benefit the most from volunteering are less likely to be involved.”