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Sports and recreation volunteering in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Within the United Kingdom (UK) there are many sectors of society that rely heavily on volunteers, including charitable organisations, community events and youth clubs. Somewhat serendipitously, volunteering is a popular use of spare time amongst Britons either for altruistic reasons, social norms or to enable the continued existence of entities of interest.

The number of people that regularly volunteer in sports and recreational activities exhibits substantial demographic variation, including by age, gender, ethnicity and employment status of volunteers and across an array of sport and recreational activities.

The share of respondents in England that reported participating in voluntary activities has not changed significantly between 2013 and 2019. In 2018 the share of those who volunteer at least once a year at 64 percent and the share of those who volunteer at least once a month at 39 percent. Of these volunteers the 16 to 24 year old and 65 to 74 year old age groups occupy the greatest share. In England in 2019, approximately 35 percent of respondents from these two age groups had volunteered at least once within the previous twelve months.

Specifically within sport, the result of a survey on the share of people who volunteered in the previous twelve months in Wales in 2017 was shown to be highest within the 35-44 age group and the 16-24 age group with 14 percent and 13 percent of respondents respectively. The high share of the 35-44 age group likely reflects the involvement of parents in the operation of youth sporting entities for their children. The high share of the 16-24 age group could reflect volunteering undertaken by former participants of such youth sporting entities, having recently grown too old to participate directly. In addition there appears to be a strong gender dependent variation of sports volunteers across England, Wales and Scotland, with male volunteers more prevalent across all regions. This is in contrast to the gender distribution of volunteers more generally whereby female volunteers are more prevalent.


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