Faith in Wales: Counting for Communities:
Summary of Findings for the City and County of Cardiff
Until now, Wales has lacked statistical evidence about the role of faith communities in the wider communities of which they are a part. The Gweini report, Faith in Wales: Counting for Communities,provides new information on the services provided by faith communities to the wider community, including: the numbers of volunteers they mobilise, the numbers of staff they pay to work with the wider community, the rooms and halls they make available, and their impact on tourism.
The survey on which it is based achieved an exceptional response rate of just over 49%, (just under 49% for Cardiff), and this allows summaries to be made for each of the unitary authorities. Here are some of the highlights of the information available for Cardiff.
On the basis of this research, and other information, it is estimated that over 200 faith communities are active in Cardiff. Eleven are mosques, four are Hindu Temples, another four are Sikh Gurdwaras and two are Synagogues. In addition, there are a number of Buddhist and Bahá'í centres. The remainder are Christian churches (individual congregations, or parishes in the case of the Church in Wales), representing one church for every 1,600 people in Cardiff.
Every week, roughly 7.6% of the population of Cardiff is estimated to be present at a church or chapel service. However, this figure understates the numbers who attend over the course of a year. Taking the single largest service in each congregation over a year raises the figure to 11%. A considerably higher proportion that this must attend one or more church services over the course of a year.
The range of services churches provide in Cardiff is enormous, including many services governments are not well equipped to deliver. The top five are: Children's work (under 14 year olds); Social activities (lunch club, coffee bar, etc.); Marriage preparation; Hospital visiting and Parent-toddler groups; in which the number of churches involved is estimated to be 129, 127, 95, 94 and 93, respectively.
In addition, a number of churches are already working in areas of emerging need and opportunity; over 20 churches are estimated to be working in at least one of the areas of employment training, alcohol and drug awareness, and personal finance issues, and 35 hope to work in these areas in the future.
Over 95% of the churches in Cardiff are active in one or other area of community services, with an average number of around nine areas of activity each.
Around 4,300 volunteers are estimated to work on behalf of the wider community in activities organised by churches in Cardiff. This represents over 8,500 hours a week, equivalent to around 210 full-time workers.
In addition, churches in Cardiff employ over 170 paid staff to work with the wider community, representing a further 2,500 hours a week, equivalent to over 60 full-time workers.
Many churches provide accommodation for the wider community. In Cardiff, around 40 are estimated to operate purpose-built community centres; around 120 rent out rooms to outside groups; and around 80 supply some accommodation free of charge.
Churches offer support for the Welsh language: around 25 churches in Cardiff are estimated to be involved in running classes in Welsh, or activities for Welsh speakers.
Using standard techniques, the economic benefit impact of just part of the services provided by churches to Cardiff can be estimated at £9.2M per year.
And, of course, this is only part of the impact of churches. For example, around 25 churches in Cardiff are estimated to be strongly involved in their local Community Strategy or have been involved in Government regeneration or community or economic development initiatives, or both.