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Poll shows half the population has contact with local church

15 November 2022

Similar proportion considers Church of England to be an important part of British society

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Many people were in touch with their local church through community services such as parent-and-toddler groups

Many people were in touch with their local church through community services such as parent-and-toddler groups

ABOUT half the population of the UK has had contact with their local church, either through worship or community services such as parent-and-toddler groups and foodbanks, an online poll from Savanta ComRes suggests.

A similar proportion considered the Church of England to be an important part of British society. Data from the poll — which surveyed 2073 UK adults aged 18+ between 1 and 3 July this year — were weighted to be representative of the population by age, gender, region, and social grade.

The most common reason for church contact was attending weddings, baptisms, and funerals (50 per cent), followed by worship and services (42 per cent), and carol services (39 per cent). Just under half (47 per cent, 974 people) agreed with the statement: “The local church is an important part of my community.” And more than half (52 per cent, 1084 people) agreed with the statement: “The Church is an important part of British society.”

More women (156) than men (128) had had contact with the local church through community groups. One third of this group — representative of 13.7 per cent of all UK adults — had been to a church through services such as foodbanks. That figure was highest in the 18-24 age bracket and lowest in those over 65.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who speaks on welfare issues in the House of Lords, said: “These figures show the extent to which the Church of England is providing not just spiritual and pastoral support but practical help to communities throughout the country. . .

“The biggest source of practical support provided by the Church of England is through running or supporting around 8000 foodbanks throughout the country, and many of our churches are now opening up as ‘warm spaces’ through the Warm Welcome campaign, as people struggle to pay their energy bills. Sadly, we anticipate that these services will come under increasing pressure this winter.”

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