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The volunteering activities of children aged 8–15

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Despite policies to encourage children's sense of citizenship and to increase young people's participation in the voluntary sector, there has been very little research on volunteering by the under-16s, and scant attention has been paid to existing evidence. This paper uses the United Kingdom Time Use Survey, 2000 to explore the formal and informal volunteering of children aged 8 to 15: their participation rates; the time they spend volunteering; the volunteering activities they do; and the characteristics of child volunteers. It is shown that children are a core group of active volunteers who should no longer be sidelined in voluntary or fourth sector research and policy, and nor should research on children ignore volunteering as an aspect of their lives. The conceptualisation of volunteering can be enriched by a better understanding of children's experience, and the ways in which current conceptions of volunteering may themselves obscure children's contribution.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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