Diversity the big challenge for participation says NCVO

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8 January, 2018

People in the UK remain willing to become involved in society but attracting people from more diverse backgrounds remains a challenge, says a new report from NCVO.

The report, Getting Involved: How people make a difference, gives an overview of the different ways and activities in which people participate in society, drawing together statistics from a variety of sources. Although membership rates for organisations such as trade unions, religious organisations and tenants’ associations have fallen, the number of people willing to give their time to support a cause they care about remains high.

Three in five adults volunteer at least once a year, and there has been a rise in recent years in the number of young people volunteering. The publication charts trends in participation. For example, while membership of political parties has fallen sharply since 1980, voter turnout has risen in recent years.

However, NCVO says the challenge overall is to involve a more diverse range of people. At present, society’s ‘civic core’, the people who spend the most time volunteering in one form or another, is predominantly prosperous, highly educated and older.

Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at NCVO, said: "Organisations of all kinds will need to innovate in the sort of opportunities they offer in order to lift their levels of volunteering and to attract a more diverse range of people. Many organisations are already thinking about and doing this, and we should all try to learn from them. If we are to create a society able to address the diverse needs of all who live in it, we need to make sure that people from all walks of life are able to join in and work towards change."

Getting Involved forms part of NCVO’s series of publications that aim to inform and shape contemporary public policy on civil society. To read the full report, click here.

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