Minority of people think charities can help heal Brexit divides, research finds

Polling commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation finds that 37 per cent of people think voluntary sector organisations could bring communities back together

Only a minority of the public think charities can help to unite communities after the splits caused by Brexit, according to polling released by the Charities Aid Foundation.

The research, conducted by the polling company YouGov and commissioned as part of CAF’s ongoing UK Giving Survey, found that 37 per cent of the more than 2,100 people polled believed that charities could help to heal social divides and just 31 per cent thought charities had a strong role to play after the Brexit vote.

Participants were asked how their attitudes on community cohesion and charities had shifted in the three years since the EU referendum in June 2016.

One in five of the public thought there was a strong sense of community in the country overall, with nearly two-thirds considering that the UK was too unequal.

Researchers found that a clear majority (69 per cent) agreed that charities played an important role in society, and 43 per cent agreed that charities could improve community cohesion.

Four in 10 participants agreed that it was more important that the government funded charities in their local areas now than it was three years ago.

CAF also found that, while most people had donated money to charity during the previous 12 months (59 per cent), only one in 10 said they were now more likely to give to international charities.

About a third of people thought that their communities had become more divided in the past three years. A similar proportion believed that people were good at looking out for their neighbours.

Susan Pinkney, head of research at CAF, said: "We are seeing a very mixed picture across the UK, with a clear sense that people are feeling wary about how their communities are reacting to the debate in the country since 2016.

"There remains a strong willingness to step in and help others, but it is tempered with concerns about wider cohesion locally and worries about inequality in general."

She said: "We are buoyed to see the continued support for the role that charities can play in bringing people together and healing social divides."

CAF reported earlier this month that it gave out a record £646m to charities last year.

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