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Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 09:16 UK
The kindness of teenagers
Beatrice Chequer-Benedict
Beatrice enjoys helping other people

Teenagers are contributing £300m each year to the economy, says a new report from the Evangelical Alliance.

The report found that 45% of young people volunteer once a month and 80% regularly donate money to charity.

The Evangelical Alliance surveyed over 700 14-18 year olds for their study called 'Young People Matter.'

The findings belie the unfavourable reputation frequently attributed to young people, particularly in London.

The volunteer

Beatrice Chequer-Benedict is a 14-year-old from Peckham who started volunteering as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.

She enjoyed it so much - and because it looks good on her CV - that she now spends two hours every Saturday volunteering in her local Mind charity shop.

I enjoy the atmosphere and the feeling of helping people
Beatrice Chequer-Benedict

"I enjoy the atmosphere and the feeling of helping people," she says of her role at Mind, where she sorts through clothes and serves at the till.

"Some of my friends take the mickey; others see it as useful for getting a job - but they don't really see the point in doing it to just help society."

Faith

Another key finding of the report is that young people are more likely to be volunteers if they are active Christians.

YOUNG PEOPLE MATTER
Young People Matter

Young people volunteer on average 3.57 hours a month

This is the equivalent of 33,000 full time workers across England

At the minimum wage this is £210 million a year

Young people also donate £110 million to charity each year


Beatrice, herself admits that her faith has made her 'more inclined to want to help people.'

Almost 40% of the voluntary work carried out by young people takes place through churches or religious organisations.

Even 10% of those who declared themselves non-religious still volunteer through a religious organisation.

Royal Approval

In his foreword to the report, Prince Charles writes:

"What is striking, as the report highlights, is the way in which personal faith and religious organisations encourage young people to volunteer."

Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, said:

"These results demonstrate what I have seen and known for years; that young people, contrary to the stereotypes, make a massive positive difference in our communities.

Far too often they are branded as hoodies or gang members when the real statistics tell a very different story."




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