The latest Citizenship Survey headlines for the first quarter of 2009 cover empowerment and participation, community cohesion, and racial and religious harassment and labour market discrimination.
Julian Dobson has reviewed them and made some helpful points as always about the political context. I just have one point to add about some of the data that particularly intersts me, concerning 'informal volunteering':
In April-June 2009, 57 per cent of adults volunteered informally at least once in the 12 months prior to interview.
The report doesn't mention trends here, so I went back to the figures for the whole of 2008-09, and found that in that year 62 per cent of adults volunteered informally at least once in the previous 12 months.
A five per cent decline is sharp and significant. Can it be attributed just to the effects of the recession? If so, will levels recover after economic recovery? Sorry to keep bannging on about this, but there's a scary informal care crisis looming with an ageing population, and reduced public spending ain't gonna help. There will be a growing shortfall of family carers and an imperative to promote care and support at neighbourhood level - ask David Brindle. He wrote a year ago:
Difficult questions about family and community responsibilities are being ducked and the issues risk being overshadowed by a focus on personalisation of services.
This statistic is a tiny marker of a major social problem.