Young people, volunteering and civic service: a review of the literature

Document type
Literature review
Gaskin, Katherine
Institute for Volunteering Research
Date of publication
1 May 2004
Volunteering, Children and Young People
Social welfare
Material type

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The report reviews literature on young people's attitudes towards and participation in voluntary work and civic service. This literature review was commissioned to inform the Russell Commission on youth volunteering in 2004. In the early 2000s the context for young people's voluntary activity was changing rapidly, as the review notes, because the New Labour government strongly promoted volunteering not only as a good thing for individuals and for the delivery of services, but as central to the regeneration of democratic society. The review considers a range of literature drawn mainly from the UK and USA but also Israel, Spain, Germany and elsewhere. It considers in particular civic service programmes, which are more structured periods of engagement that are often full-time with some monetary compensation. The first section of the report (Section A) reviews evidence on the practice of volunteering, its image among young people, motivation and benefits, routes in, barriers, organisation and incentives.Section B presents examples and impacts of civic service and service learning scheme in the UK and internationally. Section C review recent UK proposal for civic service scheme, sets out key element and principles for civic service and a youth volunteering strategy. Finally the review identifies remaining knowledge gaps.

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