Friday, June 25, 2010

Faith, Volunteering, and Community Involvement

This from Christian Research's

On 29 April 2010 the Department for Communities and Local Government released two further topic reports from the 2008-09 Citizenship Survey relating, respectively, to Empowered communities and to Volunteering and charitable giving. The Citizenship Survey is conducted by face-to-face interview among a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over in England and Wales, including an ethnic minority booster sample. NatCen conducted 14,917 interviews between April 2008 and March 2009.

The Empowered Communities report includes an analysis by religion of participation in civic engagement and formal volunteering. Of the major faith groups, Buddhists are shown to be most active (69% participate), followed by Christians (64%), those identifying with no religion (58%), Muslims (48%), Sikhs (47%) and Hindus (46%).

In terms of influencing decisions in their local area, a rather different pattern emerges. Sikhs are most hopeful (61%), followed by Muslims (49%), Hindus (48%), Buddhists (47%), Christians (39%) and those of no religion (37%). All groups feel they have much less say over decision-making at national level, the high being 49% for Sikhs and the low 20% for those identifying with no religion.

The Volunteering and Charitable Giving topic report includes no breaks by religious affiliation, but the links between faith and volunteering are analysed. For example, of those who have engaged in formal volunteering during the past twelve months, 33% have helped religious organisations. The proportion of the population that undertake voluntary work rises progressively with age, from 22% among the 16 to 25s, to 50% for the over 75s age group.

Places of worship are a source of information about potential opportunities for formal volunteering for 21% of the sample, but especially for those aged 65 and over (35%). Religious motivations for regular formal volunteering are cited by 17% of all adults and by twice this number among the elderly and ethnic minorities.

When it comes to charitable giving, 74% of adults give to charity of whom one-fifth (15%) give through a collection at a place of worship.

The reports are available to download from the department for Communities and Local Government.
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