An independent report published 20/06/12,  illustrates how volunteers contribute millions of pounds worth of hidden time, commitment and energy to the charity sector every year.

The research, conducted across 160 of Action for Children’s children’s centres by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Office for Public Management (OPM), estimates that the total value of volunteers to this one charity alone is almost £1,183,000.

Action for Children’s Maureen Nuttall commented: “As well as supporting the charity sector, our volunteers are invaluable in their support to the UK’s most vulnerable and neglected children. Seeing the facts summed up like this reiterates the need to invest in our volunteers – to ensure they get just as much out of their experience as they put in.”

The report clarifies that the most common motivation for volunteering is the desire to give something back.

Staff who work in Action for Children’s children’s centres highlighted the far-reaching value of volunteering; with approximately half citing that the most important impact volunteers make is as role models to their wider community.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “This research highlights the valuable contribution and vast experience of volunteers. Charities, including Action for Children, offer myriad opportunities for people to gain skills and make a difference.

"However, as this report shows, volunteering is not a free resource; it requires investment and structure to ensure that everyone has access to worthwhile and enjoyable experiences and is properly supported.”