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One pound in six given to charity goes to religious charities - research

29 March 2013

One pound in six given to charity in Britain last year (2011/12) went to religious causes, making them the largest beneficiary of donations, according to research showing that Britons remain committed to supporting faith groups up and down the country.

Religious causes received 17% of the total money given to charity by the public in the UK - amounting to nearly £1.6 billion – in 2011/12, ahead of medical and hospital causes - each accounting for 15% of money donated - children's charities (11%) and overseas causes (10%).

The figures come from the annual UK Giving report, published each year by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, based on figures supplied by the Office for National Statistics.

The smallest amounts were given to arts and sports charities, which each received just 1% of total donations.

Just over 11,000 charities in the UK have a specifically religious purpose, according to the latest charity accounts.

However, medical charities remained the cause supported by the largest number of donors, backed by one in three donors (33%), followed by hospitals (backed by 30% of donors) and children’s charities (backed by 23% of donors). Religious causes were backed by 14% of donors

Data released by CAF in 2012 also showed that people who are religious donate over twice as much money to charity as those without a faith.

The average amount religious people gave to charity was £576 over the previous 12 months, compared to the £235 contributed by those of no faith.

Richard Harrison, Director of Research at the Charities Aid Foundation, which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations, said: “It is a little appreciated phenomenon that so much money is regularly donated to churches, places of worship and other religious causes, who play such an important role in our communities.

“It is excellent that people across the UK continue to give so much to charity, particularly at a time when many charities face pressure on their finances, with as many as one in six believing they face closure this year.

"The support people give to religious and other community causes is part of the glue that binds our society together."

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