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News – Big society

January 2011

Big society

Christians, particularly older women, are blazing a trail by volunteering in their local communities, according to the Evangelical Alliance (EA).

     A survey from the congregations of EA member churches revealed that evangelical Christians have already exemplified Prime Minister David Cameron’s idea of a ‘Big society’.

      The EA survey showed that its member church congregations already give 500,000 unpaid hours every week to their local communities. By extrapolation, if they were paid the minimum wage of £5.93 an hour, EA’s member churches, in terms of volunteer hours, would be contributing £3m to the national economy each week.

     Steve Clifford, general director for the EA, said, ‘Far from being a beleaguered minority group, the results show that evangelicals are making a difference and we would be sorely missed if we weren’t getting on with our voluntary work. On that note we should be able to approach decision makers and funding providers with greater confidence’.

     Of the 17,000 people surveyed earlier this year, nine out of 10 evangelicals agreed that it was their Christian duty to be involved in social action. Another seven out of 10 believed that, to some extent, Christians should work with people of other faiths on community projects.

     Women over the age of 55 are more likely to give unpaid time to community work. Men aged 35-54 are least likely to volunteer. Six out of ten evangelical respondents said they had given at least 10 per cent of their household income to their church and/or charity in the past month.

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