Spirit of 2012 funding enables research into volunteering and its inclusivity

Categories: School of Health and Society

Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 legacy funder has today awarded a grant of £29,858 to carry out new research into the background, nature and experiences of disabled people who volunteer. A team of four researchers, coordinated by Kim Donahue Associates, will undertake the project, with the quantitative analysis undertaken by Dr Daiga Kamerāde from the University of Salford.


The team will work in collaboration with HEAR, a pan-equality network of voluntary/community sector organisations. Using data from Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, the research will be used to profile disabled and non-disabled volunteers and understand how patterns of volunteering have changed during the pandemic. The team will also undertake six in-depth case studies with organisations that currently work with volunteers.

This inclusive volunteering programme is practised-based research, believed to be the first of its kind, into the background and experiences of disabled volunteers, with results expected to be published by April 2022.

Véronique Jochum, Social Research Consultant, said: “Volunteering and disability is still an area that is under-researched. We are excited about addressing some of the evidence gaps and add new insights to help organisations develop opportunities that bring together disabled and non-disabled volunteers.

Dr Daiga Kamerāde, a Reader in Work and Wellbeing at University of Salford, said: “Ours will be the first project of its kind to produce detailed statistics on different types of disability and how they combine with a person’s gender, age, ethnicity and other characteristics to create their unique experiences of volunteering.”

Ruth Hollis, CEO of Spirit of 2012, said: “When done well, volunteering is hands-down a good thing; the pandemic has pulled that into focus in a way that we haven’t seen before. There are benefits for the organisation, the end user and a positive impact on the wellbeing of the volunteer.

“And when disabled and non-disabled people volunteer together, there are huge advantages, not least in tackling prejudice around disability. We’re delighted to take the lead in funding this important work which has a very singular rationale – to make volunteering, whatever its context, more inclusive.”

The insights from the research will help organisations that have volunteer programmes, or are considering working with volunteers, to develop inclusive volunteering practices that are open to both disabled and non-disabled people on equal terms.


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