CHURCHES and TOILETS

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An opinion poll into public attitudes to church buildings

A recent poll shows that the public welcomed Government funding for church heritage and revealed what would get them to return to visiting churches, chapels and meeting houses

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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, according to the findings of a new opinion poll, commissioned by the National Churches Trust. The overwhelming majority of British adults (84%) think that the UK’s churches, chapels and meeting houses are an important part of the UK’s heritage and history, according to the findings of the ComRes poll, which interviewed 2,038 GB adults online between the 16th and 17th December 2015.

A further 83% of British adults think that the UK’s churches and chapels and meeting houses play an important role for society. When people were asked what would most encourage them to visit churches, the top five responses were:

  • A friendly welcome
  • The provision of toilets

  • A Café or refreshment area,
  • Comfortable seating
  • Access to useful visitor information

The poll found that 57% of British adults said that they had visited a church in the past year for religious services, non-religious activities or as a visitor or tourist.

 A few of the Key findings include:

  • More than four in five Britons (84%) agree that the UK’s churches, chapels and meeting houses are an important part of the UK’s heritage and history.
  • The majority of British adults (83%) agree that churches, chapels and meeting houses are important for society as they provide a space in which community activities can take place, as well as worship. But what would encourage more of them to visit a one of these places
  • 34% said the provision of toilets

  • 32% said that a Café or refreshment area
  • 29% said that comfortable seating and
  • 28% said that access to useful visitor information would encourage them to visit
  • Younger adults (those aged 18-34) say that Wi-Fi would encourage them to visit
  • 46% of British adults agreed that it is difficult to find useful visitor information, such
    as directions, opening hours and details of things to see and do.

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

“This poll shows that there is overwhelming public support for church buildings, despite the decline in the numbers of people in Britain identifying themselves as Christian in recent years.” The British public thinks that churches, chapels and meeting houses are an important part of the UK’s heritage and history and that they are also important for society as they provide a space in which community activities can take place, as well as worship. 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 was seen as particularly important by young adults. “

“However, the huge support for churches demonstrated by this poll will, I hope, encourage local communities and church authorities to keep their buildings open & in good repair and with the right facilities to allow greater community use for many years to come.”

Churches, chapels and meeting houses can continue to play a vital role in the life and well-being of the nation!