YouthLink Scotland survey reveals £128M value of Youth Work Volunteers

A survey published today by YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work, in partnership with their National Voluntary Youth Work Organisations network has revealed that youth work volunteers contributed more than 12million hours of volunteering to communities across Scotland in 2011/12.

Based on an average youth work staff rate of £10 per hour, if this time was to be paid for from the public purse it would have cost more than £128million.

The statistics show that a staggering 73,004 adult youth work volunteers contributed to a total of 12,841,040 volunteering hours through these organisations to help make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people and their communities.

In total, 386,795 young people were engaged in some form of youth work via the 33 national voluntary youth work organisations from within YouthLink Scotland’s membership that contributed to this report.

The survey also highlights the importance of the Scottish Government’s Unified Voluntary Sector Fund (UVS Fund) to the youth work sector, revealing that £1.5million of grants from the UVS Fund was distributed to national voluntary youth work organisations in Scotland in 2011/12 for core funding of their organisation. This fund is currently under review by the Scottish Government.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland Jim Sweeney said:

“The findings from this survey highlight the incredible commitment and contribution of youth work volunteers in Scotland. These volunteers make a huge difference to improving the day-to-day lives of thousands of our young people and their efforts should never be taken for granted.

This report also underlines the importance of the Unified Voluntary Sector Fund to voluntary youth work organisations in Scotland. Money from this fund is particularly crucial, as it is one of the only sources of dedicated core funding that national voluntary youth work organisations have access to. This contribution to core funding enables organisations to look beyond the immediate need to fundraise and focus on the direct delivery of services to our young people.

The substantial figures outlined in this report offer just a snapshot of the range and scale of youth work that takes place across Scotland."

Chair of YouthLink Scotland’s network of National Voluntary Youth Work Organisations, Carol Downie, added:

“Youth work volunteers come from all walks of life and give freely of their time and skills to better enable Scotland’s young people to be all they can be. It is important that this significant contribution and its equivalent monetary value be properly recognised.

We hope that this report will help both government and businesses in Scotland to better understand and recognise the need for continued and increased investment in youth work.”

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People said:

“I recognise and support the hugely valuable contribution that the thousands of youth work volunteers make every day to improve the wellbeing and life chances of Scotland’s young people.

Our communities benefit from the work and commitment of volunteers and they can play a key role in making Scotland the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up.’’

Chair of the Board of YouthLink Scotland, Alex Linkston CBE also added:

“Youth work volunteers play a vital role in effectively engaging with Scotland’s young people. The flexibility and skills that youth workers bring, enable them to develop trust from young people, which in many cases is the first time that that young person may have trusted an adult. The positive contribution of youth work and youth work volunteers should never be overlooked or under-estimated.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 12,841,040 – total number of volunteering hours (from both adults and young people) contributed via national voluntary youth work organisations in Scotland over 2011/12
  • 386,795 - Number of young people in Scotland engaged with by the organisations that took part in the survey
  • 73,004 – number of adult youth work volunteers identified in the survey
  • 3,551 – Total number of paid youth work staff (full time & part time) employed by the organisations surveyed
  • 315 –  Number of Core/HQ staff employed by the national voluntary youth work organisations that took part in this survey


To download the full report click here.