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Christians most likely to feel increased community spirit, survey finds

25 September 2020

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CHRISTIANS are more likely to feel an increased sense of community spirit in their neighbourhood as a result of the pandemic this year, a survey has found.

The findings of the survey conducted this month by Savanta ComRes on behalf of Christian Aid, Covid-19: Global Neighbours, reveal that 50 per cent of Christians reported an increase of community spirit since March, compared with 40 per cent of those of another religion, and 37 per cent of those without a religion.

Forty per cent of young people aged between 18 and 34 also felt an increase, but the number of all adults in the UK reporting this was just three in ten.

The head of community fund-raising and public engagement at Christian Aid, Chine McDonald, said: “Covid-19 may have forced us to physically separate, but connection and community have been huge themes this year.

“It’s exciting to see a significant number of young people indicating that they feel more part of our global community.”

The extent to which the community spirit was felt was lower. Of all adults who reported an increased connection with their community, only nine per cent said that they felt this to a large extent; and 20 per cent said that they felt this “a little”.

Fifty-one per cent said that they felt no change, while 12 per cent said that they felt a little or much less part of a “global community”. Just 21 per cent of those over the age of 55 said that they felt part of a worldwide community.

Of those aged 18 to 34, 39 per cent also felt an increased sense of community spirit in their neighbourhood since lockdown. This was agreed with by 49 per cent of people aged 55 and over, and 53 per cent of those over 65. But only 27 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said that they had felt this increase “a little bit”, and 12 per cent reported it as “a lot”.

One third of all adults who took part in the survey said that they thought that the sense of community spirit in their neighbourhood had not changed; ten per cent said that it had decreased.

Ms McDonald said: “It’s because our supporters feel connection with those trapped in poverty that they act to bring about change. Neighbours here in the UK are transforming people’s lives when they come together, online or otherwise, and through our partner organisations our supporters reach out to their global neighbours, too.

“We have been bowled over by people’s understanding that Covid-19 is also devastating lives in parts of the world much less resilient than ours. Although we are still dealing with the virus here, people can see how awful the impact of this disease is on people without safety nets and without access to good health-care.”

The findings were drawn from an online survey of 2315 adults in the UK between 4 and 7 September. Regionally, 1744 were in England, 235 were in Scotland, 224 were in Wales, and 112 were in Northern Ireland.

Appeal launched. Christian Aid has launched its autumn appeal this month. The appeal “asks supporters to give: to help communities around the world come together to overcome poverty; to act: to call for the cancellation of debt repayments for low-income countries during the coronavirus pandemic so they can better address this crisis; and to pray for our global neighbours facing crisis in all its various forms.”

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