New poll shows public back Government funding for historic churches and an increase in numbers of people visiting churches

New poll shows public back Government funding for historic churches and an increase in numbers of people visiting churches

A new opinion poll commissioned by the National Churches Trust, reveals that 60% of British adults back the Government providing financial support for churches, chapels and meeting houses in order to protect their heritage and history for future generations.

Of key interest to CVTA supporters is the finding that 57% of British adults say they visited a church in the past year for religious services, non-religious activities or as a visitor or tourist. This is an increase of 9 percentage points compared to a similar poll conducted in December 2014. This rise is in contrast to declining numbers of people attending Church of England services, with the Attendance Statistics for 2014 released earlier in January 2016 showing that weekly attendance at church services had dipped below one million people for the first time.

Other key findings include

  • More than two in five British adults (43%) say that a friendly welcome would encourage them to visit a church, chapel or meeting house for any reason, including religious services, non-religious activities (such as playgroups, cultural events, meetings and lunch clubs) or as a visitor or tourist.
  • 34% said that the provision of toilets and 32% said that a Café or refreshment area would encourage them to visit a church, chapel or meeting house for any reason, including religious services, non-religious activities (such as playgroups, cultural events, meetings and lunch clubs) or as  visitor or tourist. 29% said that comfortable seating would also encourage them to visit.
  • Younger adults (those aged 18-34) are considerably more likely than their older counterparts (aged 65+) to say that WiFi would encourage them to visit a church, chapel or meeting house (27% compared to 5%).

 

We also need to take note of the 28% who said that access to useful visitor information (e.g. details of things to see or do, opening hours, directions) would encourage them to visit a church, chapel or meeting house for  any reason,  including religious services, non-religious activities (such as playgroups, cultural events, meetings and lunch clubs) or as a visitor or tourist. But that 46% of British adults agreed that it is difficult to find useful visitor information about churches, chapels and meeting houses, such as directions, opening hours and details of things to see and do.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

Looking to the future, our poll shows how even more people could be encouraged to visit churches. That includes making sure that visitors receive a friendly welcome and providing better facilities such as toilets, a café or refreshment area and wi-fi, seen as particularly important by young adults.