New Government survey results underline community spirit generated during pandemic

Results from the Community Life Survey 2020/21 published

Image of volunteer

Community spirit and support for neighbours, friends and family remained as strong as ever during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, despite its negative impact across the country, new figures from a major Government annual survey have suggested today.

The latest Community Life Survey, surveyed more than 10,900 adults across England during different periods of lockdown measures between April 2020 to March 2021.

During a year where so many sacrifices were made in order to prevent the spread of the virus, it found that 95% of adults surveyed felt that they had people who were there for them if they needed help, matching the result from last year’s survey. 93% also felt that if they wanted company or to socialise there were people they could call.

Despite the inevitable decrease in the proportion of people formally volunteering, dropping down to an all-time low of 17% doing it at least once a month, there was an increase in the proportion of people informally volunteering with acts of kindness to support their community.

33% of respondents had volunteered informally at least once a month, which is the highest percentage on record, as people have helped one another across communities from getting a neighbour’s shopping and prescriptions, to looking after a friend’s children.

Minister for Civil Society Baroness Barran said:

"The past 18 months have been extraordinarily difficult for everyone, and have impacted our lives in so many ways.

"However these findings also show how difficult times truly bring out the best in us as a nation, which I strongly believe has helped to pull us through. The fact that 95% of adults agree that they have people who are there for them if they need help speaks volumes for the strength of our country.

"I’m delighted to see the highest percentage on record of people informally volunteering, and throughout the pandemic, formal and informal volunteers have been there for those who needed help. I recommend everyone considers volunteering in some way whether big or small, not only to help their community, but also to experience the huge benefits of forming new relationships and improving mental wellbeing.

"We’ve stayed connected, helped out, and been there for each other. I absolutely feel that whilst it’s been a difficult time, we will emerge from the pandemic with a stronger, more connected society than ever before."

Other results from the Community Life Survey show that 65% of people feel that people in their neighbourhood pull together to improve the local area, showing the strength of local communities.

The full report including figures on loneliness, charity donations and civic participation can be found here.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Baroness Barran MBE