Despite policies to encourage children’s sense of citizenship and to increase young people’s participation in the voluntary sector, there has been very little research on volunteering by the under-16s, and scant attention has been paid to existing evidence. This paper uses the United
Kingdom Time Use Survey, 2000 to explore the formal and informal volunteering of children aged 8 to 15: their participation rates; the time they spend volunteering; the volunteering activities they do; and the characteristics of child volunteers. It is shown that children are a core group
of active volunteers who should no longer be sidelined in voluntary or fourth sector research and policy, and nor should research on children ignore volunteering as an aspect of their lives. The conceptualisation of volunteering can be enriched by a better understanding of children’s experience,
and the ways in which current conceptions of volunteering may themselves obscure children’s contribution.
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