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Young adults playing major part in community organisations' impact on economy

Increasing numbers of young adults aged 18-34 are making a significant contribution to the growth and impact of community organisations in the UK ...

As the UK economy takes tentative steps to recover, a new report commissioned by specialist charity and heritage insurer Ecclesiastical and undertaken by CEBR has revealed community organisations are projected to be worth £27.5 billion to the UK in 2013. This is an increase of 3.6% from £26.5 billion in 2012.
 
The Community Census Report, commissioned by specialist charity and heritage insurer Ecclesiastical to examine the impact community organisations it insures have in the UK, reveals that this increase by £1 billion to £27.5 billion in contribution to the economy is equivalent to 1.7% of total GDP.
 
The report, which examines the specific roles voluntary groups and charities, religious bodies and heritage properties and sites play, reveals voluntary organisations are projected to contribute almost £18 billion this year. At the same time the heritage and tourism sector is estimated to contribute a further £9.6 billion.
 
Young people

Further research from the Community Census Report suggests that it might be young people’s involvement that has helped spearhead the growth over the last year, with 18 to 34-year-olds being the most active age group in their local communities. One in five 18 to 34-year-olds (3 million young adults) attend or support at least one of their local charities, religious groups or heritage properties – a greater proportion than any other generation.
 
Increasing involvement v unemployment

Over the coming 12 months it is 18 – 34-year-olds that are reporting a particular interest in increasing their involvement amongst community organisations, with 35% stating this to be the case. These findings come at a time when it is increasingly challenging for young people to establish themselves on the career ladder. At the same time unemployment in the UK hasn’t fallen for nearly 12 months and approximately one fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds are unemployed, while even among university graduates the number of those unemployed or working in jobs for which they are overqualified remains high.
 
The Community Census Report further revealed that for 18-34s, acquiring new knowledge or skills is a much more important aspect of community involvement than it is for older generations. This is particularly true for heritage sites, with 45% of young people report learning new things as a reason for attendance.
 
Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecclesiastical Insurance comments on the report: “The projected growth this year that community organisations will provide to the UK economy, £1 billion more than in 2012, is a sign of the role these organisations play, not just in monetary terms but what they actually provide communities across the country.

"Further still it seems that younger people, and not older as many may imagine, are the most involved in community organisations. Official statistics for younger age groups often focus on those who are not in employment, education or training. However, perhaps this particular angle misses a more positive aspect of young Britons lives’ – how involved they are with their local communities.
 
“We’ve commissioned this report to get a better idea of the importance of community organisations to the UK economy and the general public. I’m really encouraged by the findings of the Community Census and hope it helps raise awareness of these organisations’ contribution and increase support for them even more.”
 
Download the full Community Census report here.

Report undertaken by CEBR between March – May 2013 on behalf of Ecclesiastical Insurance
 
Community organisations are defined in The Community Census as charities and voluntary groups, religious bodies and heritage buildings and sites

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