National report claims dismissed due to lack of evidence

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Volunteering communities in the Oban and Lorn area are bucking the national trend.

A recent report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has suggested that volunteers are more likely to be from white, middle class backgrounds and charities need to ‘think about what barriers they may inadvertently be creating’.

However, having read the report, Claire Brown, Police Scotland youth volunteer co-ordinator for Oban, said: ‘As our journey in Oban Police Scotland Youth Volunteers moves and we continue partnership working with other volunteer groups within the Oban and Lorn area, there is little evidence to substantiate the report argument.’

Time Well Spent, a national survey on the volunteer experience, shows volunteering is carried out more by middle class and educated people than by working class and less educated people.

The umbrella body conducted a survey of 10,103 people and found that 40 per cent of working class people have never volunteered at all, compared to 25 per cent of middle class people. The study is the largest of its kind for a decade.

The report also suggests that working class people are also less likely to be involved in organising activities in charities, such as becoming a trustee, with 23 per cent never taking on organisational roles compared to 15 per cent of middle class people.

The report says: ‘The most significant differences between volunteers and non-volunteers relate to socio-economic status and education levels.’

‘The community volunteering events held in this area comprise all age groups and a wide diversity of social and education groups,’ added Ms Brown.

‘Maybe this is because we are surrounded by small communities where families have lived all their lives and where newcomers are welcomed by being invited to volunteer in their new area.’

The report also said that if more employers let staff take time off or organise workplace volunteering schemes, the demographic gaps would close.