Words by Niki Tennant (Feature from Jun/Jun PosAbility Magazine) 

As shocking instances of intolerance, hostility and hate crime against people who have a disability continue to rise, a study has revealed that volunteering combats intolerance and encourages diversity.

According to Home Office statistics, hate crimes – including those against disabled people – soared by 19% between 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The study, by charity Revitalise, has discovered that student volunteers are leading the way when it comes to making society more tolerant.

95% of student respondents said that volunteering for Revitalise had made them more tolerant towards others and 96% reported that it had made them more aware of diversity issues.

Eight out of 10 said that volunteering had inspired them to play a more active role in their home communities.

Revitalise is a national charity providing respite care in a holiday setting for disabled people and carers at three accessible centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport, with 24-hour nurse-led care on-call, personal support and a range of accessible excursions, activities and entertainment.

The charity runs the largest residential volunteer programme of any UK charity. Volunteers are integral to Revitalise’s mission to enhance the lives of disabled people and carers by providing vital opportunities for social interaction.

“We live in challenging times,” said Revitalise chief executive, Chris Simmonds. “Society is becoming increasingly polarised, so we were very heartened to discover that our young volunteers are really flying the flag for tolerance and diversity.

“It is also very encouraging to find that not only do our student volunteers become more optimistic about their own futures, they are also inspired to play a key role in improving society too.”

83% of the 608 volunteers who provided feedback were full-time students.

For more information about volunteering for Revitalise, call 0303 303 0145, email volunteer@revitalise.org.uk or visit www.revitalise.org.uk.

Read full story plus case studies in the Jun/Jul issue of PosAbility magazine, SUBSCRIBE HERE.

By Niki Tennant

Read more about Niki and the rest of the PosAbility team in our Meet The Team Section.