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Millions volunteering in retirement

Published on 13 August 2013 01:00 PM

Two-fifths of older people are doing their bit for charities and their communities by engaging in voluntary work.

A poll by the Royal Voluntary Service found that one in five - around 2.2 million people over the age of 60 - help out with at least two different charities.

The research found that more than a million (11%) volunteer for three or more charities, with hundreds of thousands (6%) helping four or more good causes.

Men are most likely to volunteer their services to health charities or local football clubs, with women likelier to help children's charities or lunch clubs.

The vast majority (83%) of the volunteers said they help because they believe charity work is important. Half of those polled said it helps them as they enjoy having a purpose in life.

But 3% of those questioned said that volunteering gives them the time they need away from their partners.

Helping to make a difference

One volunteer, Mick Downing, 60, told the BBC how he volunteered after retiring from the civil service because he missed the company of others and was finding it hard to fill his days.

Mr Downing, of Sheffield, helps keep his local park tidy while also working as a 'good neighbour' for the Royal Voluntary Service, providing companionship for older people

In an interview with the broadcaster he said he found the work rewarding as it gave him a chance to talk to people about their lives, interests and experiences.

The Royal Voluntary Service's chief executive David McCullough said people like Mr Downing were helping to make a 'huge difference' to the lives of others in communities across the country.

He said: 'Many people may believe that retirement is an opportunity to sit back and relax but on the contrary. Thousands of older people are committed to helping as many people as they can.'

Originally known as the Women's Voluntary Service, the charity was set up in 1938 to help the war effort and now works to enrich the lives of older people.


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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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