Journal Article

Who volunteers?

F Wardell, J Lishman and LJ Whalley

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 30, issue 2, pages 227-248
Published in print April 2000 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2000 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Who volunteers?

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The 1990 NHS and Community Care Act outlined an extended role for volunteers and voluntary organizations in the provision of services for disabled adults and older people. In broad terms, the Act assumed an untapped pool of volunteers, ready to contribute at little additional cost to the provision of care. More recent policy developments, including Millennium Volunteers (Scottish Office 1997) have made similar assumptions. For organizations which involve volunteers, the expectations of their increased use in service provision present considerable challenges, not least in attracting new recruits and retaining existing volunteers. The research presented in this paper builds on previous work to explore the current practice and organization of volunteering and to examine critically how far the reality matches the political rhetoric about the role of volunteers in the mixed economy of care. The paper begins with a critical review of recent policy and practice in volunteering to set the context which provided our key questions. The research methodology is briefly described and the findings from a survey of 117 active volunteers working with adults with learning difficulties, mental health problems and physical disabilities, and with older people in the North of Scotland are presented. The research examines the demography and personality profiles of the volunteers. It examines their perceptions of volunteering as these relate to motivation, recruitment, selection, training, support, rewards and reasons for leaving. Finally, it examines volunteers' perceptions of the organization of volunteering. The results are reviewed in relation to the policy assumptions about volunteering in the mixed economy of care.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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