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19 OCTOBER 2016

Survey shows 98% of UK households access a charitable service with charities increasingly meeting the basic needs of a community.An overwhelming majority (98%) of UK households have used a charity’s service, with more than half (51%) turning to a charity for advice, according to new research. 

The findings, based on a survey of 2,054 adults by polling company Populus and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), showed that most popular services included buying goods in charity shops (88%), visiting charity-run museums and galleries (73%), visiting religious institutions with charitable status (51%) and getting advice from the charity or from a charity’s website (51%).....

Molly Hodson, head of media and external affairs at the Trussell Trust, said in response to the research“One of the most common phrases we hear at Trussell Trust food banks is ‘I never thought this would be me’. We’ve seen professionals like nurses and teachers come to food banks – people you don’t expect to need help.” 

The number of households using a charity at least once a week has increased by 500,000 since 2014, with single parent households being the most frequent users. A third of single parent households used a charity once a week compared to 14% of the UK population overall. John Low, chief executive at CAF said: “Every day more people are walking into their local charity shops, encouraging their children and family members to get involved in community groups and visiting the beautiful galleries and gardens supported by charities in the UK.

“But charities are also increasingly serving the basic needs of a community. We are now seeing growing numbers of young people, young families and single parent families counting on charities for ongoing support, whether this is online advice or more sophisticated care services.”The number of young families using charitable services has increased more than other household groups – 88% used a service in 2014, compared to 78% two years ago. They also used more types of services – such as receiving medical care or advice from a charity – than any other group.

“We see low-income families pushed over the edge by an unexpected bill, like a broken boiler or funeral costs,” said Hodson. “Sadly, many of us are closer to a crisis than we think, and that’s why it’s so important that all of us, especially families, can access support from charities like food banks when things go wrong.”Young people were most likely to have used a charity service in the last year, with 88% of them saying they did compared to 80% of the rest of the population. And women used charities more than men in 2014 (86% of women v. 75% men).

“All this goes to highlight the valuable role charities play in our lives, both enhancing our free time and stepping in to offer crucial support which may otherwise be difficult to access,” said Low.

PHOTOGRAPH: GARENTH PHILLIPS 
THEGUARDIAN

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