Faith in Wales: Counting for Communities:
Summary of Findings for the County of Ceredigion
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%, (around 44% for Ceredigion), and this allows summaries to be made for each of the unitary authorities. Here are some of the highlights of the information available for Ceredigion.
Ceredigion has over 240 active faith communities (individual congregations, or parishes in the case of the Church in Wales). Apart from one Mosque and one Bahá¡'â centre, all faith communities identified in the survey are churches. This represents one church or chapel for no more than 320 people in Ceredigion.
Every week, roughly 12% of the population of Ceredigion is estimated to be present at a church service. However, this figure understates the numbers who attend over the course of a year. Taking the single largest service in each faith community over a year raises the figure to 28%. A considerably higher proportion that this must attend one or more religious services over the course of a year.
The range of services churches provide in Ceredigion is enormous, including many services governments are not well equipped to deliver. The top five are Hospital visiting; Children's work (under 14 year olds); Marriage preparation; Support for older people and Support for people with long-term illness; in which the number of churches involved is estimated to be 71, 68, 59, 53 and 45, respectively.
In addition, a number of churches are already working in areas of emerging need and opportunity; around 5 churches are already working in at least one of the areas of employment training, alcohol and drug awareness, and personal finance issues and another 8 hope to work in these areas in the future.
Over 50% of the churches in Ceredigion are active in one or other area of community services, with an average number of around five areas of activity each.
Around 2,000 volunteers are estimated to work on behalf of the wider community in activities organised by churches in Ceredigion. This represents around 3,000 hours a week, equivalent to around 80 full-time workers.
In addition, churches in Ceredigion employ over 50 paid staff to work with the wider community, representing a further 480 hours a week, equivalent to another 12 full-time workers.
Many churches provide accommodation for the wider community. In Ceredigion, around 43 are estimated to operate purpose-built community centres; around 103 rent out rooms to outside groups; and around 50 supply some accommodation free of charge.
Churches offer support for the Welsh language: around 75 churches in Ceredigion are estimated to be involved in running classes in Welsh, or to be involved in activities for Welsh speakers.
Using standard techniques, the economic benefit impact of just part of the services provided by churches to Ceredigion can be estimated at £2.9M per year.
And, of course, this is only part of the impact of faith communities. For example, around 10 churches in Ceredigion are estimated to be strongly involved in their local Community Strategy.