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Formative evaluation of v: the National Young Volunteers’ Service

Researchers: Naomi Jones
Published: August 2011


This research report presents the final set of findings from the formative evaluation of v: the National Young Volunteers’ Service. It focuses on the successes and challenges of v and identifies best practice for both v and for the youth volunteering sector.

What is v?

v is a dedicated, youth-led body that aims to deliver a new national framework for youth action and engagement. It was launched in 2006 to change the quantity, quality and diversity of youth volunteering in England.


Impact of v

The formative evaluation highlighted a number of positive and negative effects on the different parties involved in youth volunteering.

  • Volunteers themselves gained qualifications, life skills, new opportunities, confidence and self-esteem. They also became more aware of and engaged with their local community.
  • Organisations that volunteers worked for saw increased numbers of young people joining them. Being part of the v network allowed organisations to improve the quality and support of volunteering young people. However, being part of the network also led to an increase in paperwork and workload.
  • The wider community benefited from young people’s involvement and sense of civic responsibility. Attitudes towards young people within local communities improved, as did intergenerational relationships.
  • The wider volunteering sector saw the increased professionalisation of youth volunteering, with youth engagement and personal development becoming more closely linked in with volunteering.


The evaluation ran from December 2008 to June 2011 and used mixed methods across nine strands to measure the impacts and implications of v. These strands included qualitative case studies, opinion surveys and interviews, as well as a number of data analysis techniques and engaging with young peer researchers to implement the research.

Read the final report

Read the key findings summary

Read the executive summary

Read the implications summary