Every little helps: Bolton youngsters urged to buck national trend and donate cash to charity

By Alex Bysouth

Selfless Bolton children, students and young professionals are calling on the kind nature of their peers to boost charity coffers.

A recent the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) poll showed more than half of all charitable donations in the UK come from the over-60s.

However, 68% young people believe they should give up time to help others, a sentiment backed by Bolton West MP Julie Hilling.

“It is clear that young people are extremely generous and determined to help others,” she said.

“It is essential that they are given the opportunity to put their charitable spirit into action.”

The poll shows donations from older people have doubled since the 1980s, but the proportion of contributions from under-30s has more than halved over that time.

The poll also found that 53% of young people believe it is more important to help others than help themselves.

John Low, chief executive of the CAF, believes the survey shows young people have a natural desire to help others.

“It’s fantastic that they are so keen to support the causes we all care about,” he said.

“It’s vital that the young people at school and college today maintain their enthusiasm for giving and carry on supporting charities when they move into the world of work.”

Parliamentary inquiry Growing Giving will investigate the reasons for generational differences and offer organisations a chance to voice their opinions on how this can be improved.

The inquiry, which focuses on opportunities for young people to engage with charities, will investigate how young people’s desire to help charities can be harnessed and converted into action.

This is something Rita Howe, a 74-year-old former WI president from Brownlow Way, Bolton, believes is more realistic than asking youngsters to donate money.

“I don’t think young people think about things quite as much as older people, which is understandable,” she said.

“They also have different interests, especially teenagers, and you can’t really expect them to donate out of their own pocket when they are still at school or a university student.

“Perhaps they should be encouraged to give up their time rather than their money – just giving an hour of their time to help an elderly neighbour with their garden, or volunteering at a nearby hospice would be invaluable to a lot of people.”

Ms Hilling also believes the launch of the inquiry is an important step towards addressing the worrying trends and seeing what changes need to be made.

Matt Springs, a 23-year-old University of Bolton student, believes despite the financial hardship faced by those in full time education, a little donation can go a long way.

“I started donating (to Cancer Research) because of personal loss after losing my granddad to prostate cancer,” he said.

“Receiving the bad news can be devastating, it can destroy families – not just the victim.

“I’m a student and I just donate a couple of quid a month, if everybody did this it would add up and really make a difference.”

But Mrs Howe confirmed why our ageing generation are in fact the most generous.

“We get various speakers from different charities,” she explained. “Donkey sanctuaries, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf – we give these donations if they are not already paid a speaking fee.

“We also contribute to Macmillan coffee mornings, where once a year all WI members in the country stage coffee mornings and send the proceeds to them.”

Image courtesy of Images of Money, with thanks.

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