Art Beavis is part of the Advocacy Team for the Cancer Council NSW, Northern Rivers.
Art Beavis is part of the Advocacy Team for the Cancer Council NSW, Northern Rivers. Picasa

Australians over 50 altruistic at heart

A RECENT study has found that more than half of Australians over 50 are currently engaged with community or volunteer work.

Passionate volunteer, Art Beavis, 78, has been volunteering at the Cancer Council of NSW for the last 8 years on their Advocacy Team in the Northern Rivers and says he believes people volunteer to give back to the community.

"In my case, I do it for the cancer council, because I believe the fight against cancer needs all the help it can get and of course there is no money coming from the government so people like me have skills that we can use and my background is marketing and community speaking, so that's the way I can play a part and it's very rewarding," Mr Beavis said.

Volunteering is often attributed to youth trying to bolster their CV, however a recent study by Apia found that approximately 56% of Australians over 50 engage in volunteering for reasons that don't serve themselves.

9 in 10 (89%) volunteers in NSW over 50 say they engage in volunteering for altruistic reasons, with the most common reason being to contribute to their community (67%).

"I do think that it is the sort of activity that attracts the people in that age bracket because essentially a lot of us are retired or semi-retired and we have time on our hands. Whereas younger people live very busy lives and often can't spare the time," Mr Beavis said.

Making a significant contribution to the community through knowledge sharing was also called out by Australians over 50, with 51% believing it's one of the most meaningful ways they can give back.

Mr Beavis said people over 50 have a lot of life experience to share: "Young people haven't got that experience yet so they're not as likely to be able to make the same sort of contribution." 

Head of Apia Customer Value, Geoff Keogh said these statistics are a true testament of over 50's commitment to helping others.

"Australians over 50 have at least half a century of experience to offer, and it's pretty remarkable that over half of this demographic are putting their skills and knowledge towards a worthwhile cause," Mr Keogh said.



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