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The benefits of contributing to your community in later life

Evidence has shown that those in later life who make voluntary contributions report an increase in wellbeing, self-esteem and social connections.

From jury service to street parties, soup kitchens to popping round to make a cup of tea, unpaid voluntary activities make an essential contribution to every community, sustaining the structures and fabric of community life.

There is also a large and growing body of evidence on the benefits that people derive from voluntarily helping others (e.g. Onyx & Warburton, 2003). We want to find ways to enable more people in later life to take up opportunities to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience, because we believe this will help them build and improve their social connections and sense of meaning and purpose.

This review presents a summary of the evidence based on the benefits for people in later life of making unpaid contributions to their communities. We will explore people’s motivations, and the barriers and opportunities they face in making a contribution, in a separate review.

Evidence Briefing – The benefits of contributing to your community in later life