Faith groups in Southampton contribute at least 573,022 hours worth £4,793,330 in support of people that are vulnerable and in need.
As part of a National Initiative coordinated by the Cinnamon Network, we led the local research to evidence for the social impact and the economic value of all that faith groups do in our communities. A total of 57 regions across the country participated in the audit gathering data from 2,110 respondents/faith groups.
Alder Trust led this on behalf of Southampton approaching as many faith-based organisations in the city as possible. With a starter list of over 70 organisations collected from existing contacts, online research and business relationships, we approached each service individually. This was achieved through email, telephone and meetings with the services explaining the purpose, the benefit and occasionally going through the process with the organisation to ensure the survey was completed fully.
The tools for collecting the data was provided by the Cinnamon Network. We coordinated and managed each organisation’s own participation link to complete the survey, helping and advising on questions where we could. All surveys needed to be completed in the month of February 2015 in order to collate the results and produce the report in time to be released alongside the General Election.
The response to undertaking the survey was overwhelmingly positive. We provided significant to support to enable as many organisations as possible to complete the survey within the tight timescales.
At the close of the survey, we received a response from 41 organisations giving us a 58% response rate which was one of the top 5 in the country. Results were published in April giving a high level overview of what faith communities are achieving through their projects and the value they’re adding to the region. Although these statistics were great to see, however faith leaders including The Right Reverend Doctor Jonathan Frost, The Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, felt that this was likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
The majority of the projects listed in the survey were Cinnamon Network based and although many faith groups use this structure for social action, many adapt this or create new ones depending on the community they’re in. For examples, weddings, funerals, pastoral care, education and many other services were not included in this survey.
In May, The Cinnamon Network held a celebratory event and The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, shared his reflections on the impact that faith groups have.
This was the first attempt nationally at gathering these statistics and it will be repeated. Some of the learnings include recognising:
Since the release of the audit, all participants from Southampton have received their own copies of the report for their reference. The report will enable conversations of stakeholders, partners and potential funders.
If you would like to view the Faith Action Audit Southampton Report, you can do so online.
If you would like a hard copy of the report to distribute, please contact Megan on: firstname.lastname@example.org.