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2016 sees rise in social awareness, says CAF research

2016 sees rise in social awareness, says CAF research

People are more inclined to volunteer and have become more politically and socially aware since the beginning of 2016, according to new CAF research.

The ’s research looks into how people feel about their community and society in the aftermath of the EU referendum, and finds that 18% of people feel more inclined to volunteer now than they did at the beginning of 2016, while 30% say they have become more active in a social or political cause. CAF suggests that these increases in social and political awareness have been driven by the Brexit vote.

According to the research, which included a YouGov poll of 1,002 people:

  • Nearly 14 million (26%) feel their community is more divided than it was at the start of the year. A significantly smaller number (12%) believe that community spirit in their area is more noticeable.
  • People are becoming more politically and socially active, with 30% saying they are more active in a social or political cause compared with the start of the year. This rises to 37% among those aged 16 to 24.
  • About nine million people (18%) say they feel more inclined to volunteer in order to help their local community now than they did at the beginning of 2016.
  • One in three people (33%) say charities are needed to support communities during the process of Brexit. Charities are also seen as the type of organisation most likely to provide effective support to those who need it at times of political and economic uncertainty, ahead of local authorities, government and opposition parties. Two in five (40%) say charities can help heal social divides.

CAF has published a report including the findings, A Stronger Britain, which sets out its recommendations for how charities can help tackle social divides, embrace the growing public appetite for social activism and support government in developing Brexit policy.

CAF chief executive John Low said:

“The way people feel about the country and about their community has changed significantly in the past few months. At this critical moment in our country’s history, charities have a crucial role to play in developing a better society and building Britain’s new place on the global stage. Huge numbers of people have been motivated to become more socially and politically active. For many, charities offer an opportunity for them to channel this enthusiasm to make a real difference.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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