28 Jan 2020 - 10:31 BY The Arts Society

For over 50 years The Arts Society has been at the centre of arts, museum and heritage volunteering in the UK. In 2019, thousands of Arts Society volunteers took part in hundreds of volunteering projects.
This Report reviews the impact our volunteers make on cultural life across the UK and abroad as we look to focus on the projects with the greatest impact going forward; and to devolve activities with limited public benefit. 
The Volunteering Impact Report examines why people volunteer, the scope of impact that volunteering projects have, the benefits derived by the volunteers themselves and crucially the public benefits delivered to the beneficiaries of the projects. The Report also recognises and celebrates the achievement, passion and commitment of our volunteers to the arts sector. 

 Key facts from The Arts Society Volunteering Impact Review are:


  • Evidence shows that volunteers deliver high levels of skill and engagement across a wide range of publicly accessible heritage venues that, without The Arts Society backed volunteers, could not fund or resource this necessary and valuable work 
  • Heritage volunteering had high impact scores with over 80% of active volunteers agreeing that their volunteering was making a difference to the heritage and cultural life of the UK


  • Over the past 50 years Church Recording has provided a large body of scholarship and knowledge of ecclesiastical art in the UK
  • In 2020, the 2,000th Church Record will be completed, which is a significant milestone. 
  • Following this, central funding will cease in 2021 and the requirement for Societies having to pay towards the Records will be removed
  • The Arts Society will continue to make existing resources available online to aid the ongoing activity at local Group level
  • This decision has been taken due to the lack of evidence of public benefit; and due to very low usage of Church Records by the archival bodies that keep them 


  • Young Arts is community driven volunteering and has high impact scores. 
  • Going forward this activity will be renamed Arts Volunteering to better reflect the broadened area of public benefit
  • Logos, leaflets and other assets will  be made available in the next Bulletin if Societies wish to adopt the new name straight away
  • Societies, and therefore The Arts Society, have been under-reporting the impact of Arts Volunteering for several years – this reporting issue is now being addressed and should demonstrate the true value from 2020 onwards
  • Many of the projects within Arts Volunteering provide access to the arts where communities would otherwise have little or no access to the arts due to financial deprivation or other circumstances


  • Started under Young Arts as Church Trails and was an activity for children aged 8-12 years whereby a Trail consisting of a sheet of questions led them round the interior of a church
  • These have been impactful in engaging directly with communities and are well received by host organisations. They help ‘open new worlds to children’
  • Going forward The Arts Society will develop an online map of all completed Arts Society Trails to increase public access and benefit


Please click here to view the full Volunteering Impact Report



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