Volunteering & Health

Recent English research on volunteering highlights the analytical value of drilling down into small-scale neighbourhood-based analyses to better understand the dynamics of poor communities. More and more research, including projects in which the Wellesley Institute is involved, focuses on how variations in community structure and connections, access to services and other social determinants in local neighborhoods affect health.

This research also analyzed the policy implications of volunteering in relation to sustaining social cohesion and social capital at a local level. It found that traditional notions of mutual aid and philanthropy were more relevant for local volunteers than the idea of volunteering as a bridge into paid work popular in official discourse.

The studies referred to Local Alchemy, an innovative bottom-up initiative designed to foster social capital in deprived communities; see more on this here.