• Thursday, May 23, 2024

NEWS

New study highlights adverse effects of the cost-of-living crisis on BAME volunteers

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

British development and relief NGO based in Manchester, Human Appeal, has unveiled new research, shedding light on the substantial contributions of BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) individuals to the UK’s volunteer community. The research was released on August 28, 2023.

This research highlights the adverse effects of the cost-of-living crisis on BAME volunteers, with 38% of them reducing their volunteer hours in the past year due to escalating expenses, a press release from Human Appeal said.

In a broader context, the study disclosed that one-third (33%) of all UK volunteers had to scale back their charitable commitments.

Notably, BAME volunteers exhibited a higher commitment to supporting a diverse array of causes simultaneously compared to the average UK volunteer.

They displayed particular dedication to areas such as childcare (25% of BAME volunteers vs. 14% of non-BAME volunteers), food provision (27% of BAME volunteers vs. 15% of non-BAME volunteers), education (22% of BAME volunteers vs. 12% of non-BAME volunteers), and healthcare (27% of BAME volunteers vs. 17% of non-BAME community volunteers).

Additionally, BAME volunteers were three times more likely to contribute their time to assisting refugees (15%) than their non-BAME counterparts (5%) and twice as likely to engage in climate change initiatives (12% of BAME volunteers vs. 5% of non-BAME community volunteers).

Unfortunately, nearly half (47%) of BAME respondents had to curtail their volunteer commitments to increase their paid employment hours, driven by concerns over lost wages and heightened financial pressures due to the rising cost of living crisis.

This trend also affected the wider UK volunteer community, where 40% of all volunteers had to reduce their charitable activities to prioritise paid work.

But despite these challenges, many volunteers recognised the numerous benefits of donating their time and skills.

For instance, 25% of BAME volunteers believed that volunteering improved their mental health, while 40% appreciated how it allowed them to acquire new skills, and a similar proportion (38%) enjoyed the opportunity to connect with new people.

Among all UK volunteers, over half (54%) found the greatest benefit in the sense of community that volunteering fostered.

Commenting on the research findings, Owais Khan, deputy CEO of Human Appeal, emphasised the numerous challenges that charity volunteers encounter. The research conducted aimed to provide deeper insights into the evolving needs and the burdens they face.

He said the research findings revealed a remarkable level of dedication and involvement from both BAME and all UK volunteers in passionately supporting local causes.

However, Khan expressed concern about the disheartening consequences of the cost-of-living crisis on these compassionate individuals, while also highlighting the potential for increased support from the broader charitable sector.

The survey included a group of 1,003 UK volunteers representing diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Sapio Research conducted this online survey in May 2023, ensuring a nationally representative sample.

Human Appeal, established in 1991, collaborates with globally renowned entities such as the United Nations to implement focused poverty relief programmes. Its mission is to preserve lives through emergency response measures and sustainable development initiatives, spanning across more than 25 countries worldwide.

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