Nearly half of people in the North West are lonely but volunteering could help, reveals British Heart Foundation survey

Date published: 16 September 2019

Nearly half of people surveyed in the North West (46%) say they have felt lonely over the past month, according to a new British Heart Foundation report.

The report also reveals that nearly half (41%) of those living in the North West would like to improve their social life and 59% would like to improve their health. The charity says these are areas that many of its volunteers claim volunteering has given a boost.

More than half of UK adults who already volunteer (52%) said that their volunteering role had helped them overcome loneliness. The largest proportion of people who agreed with this statement were aged 25-34 (64%), challenging perceptions that loneliness hits older people the hardest.

Released this week, the BHF’s new report, ‘The Gift of Time’, also suggests that volunteering helps millions with their mental wellbeing. The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults* showed that just under seven in ten volunteers (68%) say their involvement in charity or community programmes has been beneficial for their mental health.

The report survey – which coincides with the launch of the leading heart charity’s volunteering campaign - also revealed that, despite stereotypes of volunteering being a pastime of older generations, thousands of young people across the UK are giving up their time for good causes.

The results showed that a quarter of 25-34 year olds (25%) currently give up their time for charities or community projects, compared to just over one in eight respondents aged 45-54 (13%) and one in nine (16%) aged 55 and over.

The results also showed that a key motivation for young volunteers is to gain new skills and experience (40% of respondents aged 16-24), compared to less than one in five of those aged 55 and over (18%).  Meanwhile, nearly half (49%) of older people (55+) are motivated by making a difference compared to just under a third (34%) of 16-24 year olds.

The BHF is calling on people of the North West, whatever their age or background, to consider donating time to the BHF and discover for themselves the life changing benefits of becoming a volunteer.

Linda Fenn, Head of Volunteering at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Volunteering has a reputation problem that we urgently need to address. Far too many people assume that it’s just for older people and that it might not benefit them. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our report has shown that young people have so much to gain from getting involved, helping them learn new things, improve their health and wellbeing, and make lifelong friends. Amid growing awareness of the importance of good mental health, we hope these findings will encourage people to give volunteering a go.

“Here at the BHF we have a multitude of varied roles on offer, so there really is something for everyone. Whether you would like to join a fundraising group and be involved in community based activities or gain retail experience on a busy shop floor, simply visit our website to find out more.”

Each year heart and circulatory diseases kill around 20,000 people in the North West and currently 930,000 people in the region are living with these conditions. With the help of volunteers, the BHF hopes to fund more research to end the heartbreak caused by conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and vascular dementia.

To get involved in volunteering at the BHF, visit:

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