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Young adults boost community chests

09 August 2013

SHUTTERSTOCK

COMMUNITY organisations, such as churches, charities, and heritage sites, will put £27.5 billion into the UK economy this year - up by £1 billion on 2012 - the Community Census Report suggests.

The figure is equivalent to 1.7 per cent of the country's total Gross Domestic Product, and demonstrates the vital part the sector plays in the British economy.

The report, prepared between March and May for the specialist insurers Ecclesiastical, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found that much of the increase was attributable to young people, with those aged 18 to 34 the most active age-group in their communities. One in five of them - about three million people - attended or supported at least one of their local charities, religious groups, or heritage properties, a greater proportion than any other generation.

More than one third said that they planned to increase their involvement: specifically, eight per cent said that they would do so with religious organisations.

This year, community organisations will employ as many people - about 1.15 million - as the financial-services industry, and will pay more in employment costs, such as wages, salaries, benefits, and pensions, than the hotel and food-services sector.

The survey also reported that more than half of the adults (57 per cent) believe that their local religious organisations are an important aspect of their community: 16 per cent attend regularly, and 11 per cent go at least once a week.

The chief executive office of the Ecclesiastical Group, Mark Hews, said: "The projected growth this year . . . is a sign of the role these organisations play - not just in monetary terms, but what they actually provide communities across the country. Religious organisations clearly play an particularly important role within communities as well.

"It also seems that younger people generally, and not older - as many may imagine - are the most involved in community organisations. Official statistics for younger age-groups often focus on those who are not in employment, education, or training. However, perhaps this particular angle misses a more positive aspect of young Britons' lives - how involved they are with their local communities."

www.ecclesiastical.com

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