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Introduction

Relationships Australia has previously explored different aspects of community participation in the monthly online survey.  This includes levels of participation in particular activities that are associated with positive wellbeing, and relationships between participation and people’s perception of their local neighbourhood, including whether they feel it is safe and has good local facilities.

Where individuals participate in their community through volunteering, there is a growing body of research that indicates individual health and social benefits for both volunteers and the community.  In one US study, for example, volunteers were found to have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.  These positive effects are most significant for older volunteers and authors have postulated that this could be because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing.

In May 2017, Relationships Australia’s monthly online survey asked website visitors to report on their level of volunteering and perceptions of the benefits of volunteering to both recipients and volunteers.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites