Between 1991 and 1997, the proportion of young people (aged 18-24) who were involved in volunteering dropped from 55 per cent to 43 per cent of their age group, according to the 1997 National Survey of Volunteering.
The average time young people spent volunteering dropped from 2.7 hours a week to 0.7 hours a week - a reversal of the general trend over the same period, in which average volunteer time rose from 2.7 hours to 4 hours a week.
Many non-volunteers said they would be attracted into volunteering if it improved their skills and benefited their career. Young volunteers were much keener than others to receive public recognition and a certificate.
* The 1997 survey is available from the Institute of Volunteeering Research, National Centre for Volunteering, Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL. Tel 0171 520 8900.