University expertise set to help shape the future of volunteering in Hampshire in just-launched survey

10 Jun 2020

The University of Winchester has joined forces with Hampshire County Council and Hampshire's CVS Network to launch a public survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on volunteering across the county.

The survey results will be used to support residents who may have stopped volunteering back into voluntary service, as well as help retain new volunteers beyond the pandemic - encouraging recruitment into new areas that may previously have struggled to attract support.

Debra Grey, Reader in the University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who is overseeing the design and analysis of the survey, said: "This project will provide important insight into the relationship between volunteering, community connectedness and wellbeing during this unprecedented time. The University is providing expertise in designing and analysing the survey, and we will be conducting follow-up interviews with people about their experiences of volunteering during COVID-19. Together, this will help us understand how to support the upsurge of volunteering and community spirit that has emerged in our local communities over the last few months."

Councillor Andrew Joy, Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships and External Affairs at Hampshire County Council, explains: "Over the past few months, an army of amazing volunteers have been lending a hand to support vulnerable people the length and breadth of the county. Their hard work has been life-saving - literally - helping thousands who have been isolating or advised to shield."

"The community spirit has been alive and well in Hampshire for many years but the Coronavirus pandemic has drawn hundreds more people into volunteering with a hugely beneficial impact on communities across the county. Our challenge now is to sustain this for the future, so I am urging any past or present volunteers to give their views on their experiences as soon as possible - we look forward to hearing from you."

The public survey asks for feedback on a range of topics including:

  • Why people are volunteering, particularly now;
  • Their routes into volunteering;
  • The impact volunteering has had or is having on individual volunteer wellbeing;
  • What would encourage people to continue volunteering post the current situation?

Tim Houghton, Chief Executive of Community First, on behalf of the Hampshire CVS Network, said: "We are keen to hear from as many people as possible, including those who may have offered their support but whose kind offer has not yet been taken up. Volunteers are the life blood of communities, and we want to do everything possible to support and encourage their efforts. This survey will help us better understand their views, so that we can help them in the right way, both now and in the future."

The volunteering survey is now live here and closes on 26 June 2020. It takes approximately seven minutes to complete, and is open to adults of all ages.

Thumbnail photo on landing page courtesy Hampshire County Council.

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