More older Russians volunteering

More than a third of older Russians are involved in volunteering

Moscow, 02.10.2015

According to the Public Opinion Foundation, more than a third of Russians over the age of 56 are routinely involved in voluntary activities. Civil society representatives are convinced that the average age of volunteers in Russia should be increased.

On the International Day of Older Persons a roundtable on the subject of ‘silver’ volunteers took place in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. It was organised by the Civic Chamber Commission for Volunteering, Philanthropy and Patriotic Education and the Association of Volunteer Centres.

According to research conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation, older volunteers are engaged in various fields: working in NGOs, staging public events, and working in community committees and associations. Managing Director of the Public Opinion Foundation Elena Petrenko notes that the more intensive the involvement of older people in volunteer activities, the higher their satisfaction with life.

The average age of volunteers in Russia is considerably lower than in other countries, emphasises Sarkis Mervanyan, the Director of the Mosvolunteer resource centre. For example, in Canada and Great Britain, the average age is 44-45, while in Russia it is 22-24. Mervanyan states that Mosvolunteer’s immediate goal is the establishment of a separate body for older volunteers.

In Saint Petersburg, the Silver Age interregional resource centre brings together around 400 volunteers, the oldest of whom recently turned 82. To mark International Volunteer Day in December, the centre is planning to hold the first national meeting of older volunteers.

Ekaterina Ishkova, Director of the Academy of Silver Volunteers, is convinced of the need to develop the volunteer activities of the older generation in rural areas. She remarks that in many countries elderly volunteer organisations operate effectively at local level, receiving support from both the state and charitable foundations. Departments specifically for older people are often created as part of foreign universities. The Academy plans to establish similar faculties at Krasnodar University.

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