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Report Examines U.K. Trends In Voluntary Sector

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - May 30, 2003) - An aging population and the increasing diversity of households are among the top trends that will affect the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom in the coming years, according to a new report from a U.K.-based think tank.

NfpSynergy examines a series of critical issues affecting charities in its new report 'Five Key Trends and Their Impact on the Voluntary Sector.'

The trends, as outlined in the report, are:

  • The aging population
  • The 'any-way-up' family, the changing structures of the family unit from the traditional two-parent household with 3.5 children
  • Diverse households
  • The education escalator and
  • Delays in financial independence

Because people are living longer and having fewer children, the U.K. population is getting older, according to the report. As people live longer, those without families will have to pay for their residential care, which could lead to people selling their property - the 'bedrock' of many charity legacies, the report said.

The report also outlined the effects the aging population will have on services for older people, such as housing associations, medical research charities and charities that provide services to people with age-related disabilities and illnesses. It also addressed how the shift to single-person households will affect the services charities provide.

The report predicts that legacy income from a new generation will rise. As housing rates soar, legacies that give a percentage of the value of a house to a charity will be worth more. In addition, the percentage of disposable income in households is predicted to increase, which could be a positive boost for charities.

As families and households become more diverse, so too do volunteers. The report discussed the need for more interesting and rewarding volunteer experiences to attract volunteers and described the different attitudes on volunteering among young adults and older adults.

The report concludes with a warning to charities about the 'slow insidious effect of socio-economic change.' Most of the changes in the report don't happen overnight, thereby making it difficult for charities to notice them. However, organizations that do not adapt to the changing world may have a difficult time, the report said.

For a copy of the report, email elishae@futurefoundation.net.

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