This study explored what research and data can tell us about volunteering in rural areas of Scotland at a time of public service reform. In particular, it examined rural/urban variations in volunteering participation and opportunities. Such variations will have implications for the sustainability of the current programme of public service reform in different areas of Scotland.
The study found that many of the reported volunteer activities that are more prevalent in rural areas are service-based, such as providing transport. Rural volunteers are also more likely to be involved in generalist roles - just helping out or doing whatever is required.
Policy-makers need to recognise that the levels of voluntary activity that are required as part of public service reform and the capacities to engage vary socially and geographically. This requires a geographically-sensitive approach to supporting volunteers. Many rural volunteers are engaged in generalist or 'substitutional' roles, which has implications for the sustainability of voluntary participation in rural areas.
This report is partly based on analysis of rural/urban variations in Volunteer Development Scotland's 'Volunteering in Scottish Charities 2011' survey. Please visit VDS's website for more information on their survey.
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