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Issue:- 05 August 2010

Brits Need More Family Time

NEW independent research conducted by ICM and commissioned by the CSV Make a Difference Day campaign reveals that up to half of people want to spend more time with their family.

The independent research undertaken by ICM  shows we are a nation prevented from spending as much time with our families as we’d like. 41% of people aged 11 years plus feel they don’t spend enough time with their nearest and dearest.

The research, which probes the perceptions of more than 2000 children and adults across Britain, from 11 years upwards, asks if the population spends enough or too little time with their family, as well as which activities they would most like to do together as a family should they have more time to spend together. The results of CSV Make a Difference Day’s Great British Family Time Survey reveal:-

► 31% of 11 to 17 year olds would like to spend more time with their family. This rises to 38% amongst older teenagers (15 to 17 year olds)

► 41% of adults surveyed do not feel they spend enough time with their family peaking at 48% for adults aged 25 to 34 years

► More people in Wales (52%) than any other part of Britain feel they need to spend more time with their family

► 35% of pensioners do not get enough family time

► The most popular activity people would do together as a family if they had the time is watching a film, with 70% of 11 to 17 year olds, 49% of 18 to 24s and 36% of 25 to 44 year olds preferring this option

► The 2nd most popular activity is shopping with 26% of people wanting to spend more time splashing the cash, rising to 50% of 15 to 17 year olds

► Cooking is also a popular activity to do with the family, with 50% of youngsters aged 11 to 14 wanting to spend more time in the kitchen

The research comes in the build-up to CSV Make a Difference Day, which is the UK’s biggest single day of volunteering on Saturday 30 October. The campaign is looking to demonstrate how giving time through volunteering as a family can increase the amount of time they spend together while being rewarding, enjoyable and worthwhile.

Money is tighter than ever for many families, but time together needn’t cost the Earth. CSV has a host of inspiring free volunteering ideas for families to take part in on Make a Difference Day. Last year nearly 70,000 volunteers took part by visiting isolated neighbours, cooking cakes for elderly residents, joining community sport events, holding jumble sales, clearing waterways, saving hedgehogs, holding intergenerational tea parties and helping children to read. Whatever activities you enjoy doing, be it watching films, cooking, playing on a computer console, helping children or arts and crafts, there is a way to incorporate this into a family event to spend more time together whilst helping the community.

Denise Robertson, family expert, is supporting the campaign and agrees family volunteering is a wonderful way to spend more time together. She says:- "Like most working mothers, I wish we'd spent more time together when my children were growing. I thought they'd want more freedom in adolescence and young adulthood but this research shows that a desire for more family time is strong in young people today. A wonderful way of spending time together is volunteering as a family or with a family member. I found that taking my children along when I worked as a volunteer was productive both for us as a family and for whoever we were helping. I sense a growing wish in Britain for a better way of co-existence so I hope many families will think about a project that can not only be beneficial to others but a wonderful bonding process for families."

Simon Tiller, campaign manager for CSV Make A Difference Day said:- “It is saddening to know vulnerable groups such as older people feel they do not have enough time with their families and considering half of older isolated people consider the television to be their main source of company it is more important than ever for people to put aside some time to visit family and help in the community. Each year thousands of Make a Difference Day Volunteers visit lonely people, deliver presents to isolated neighbours or help with their gardening and just make the time to pop over for a chat. It all makes a massive difference”.

The Tulloch family from Holmes Chapel are strong believers in the value of volunteering and all take part in activities together when they can. Mum Julie, 51, nominated ‘Wondermum’ this year, helps to run the local Beaver and Scout clubs and is volunteering at the upcoming Scout Chamboree. Each year she gets together with her family and other families in the community to plant Daffodils in the town for CSV Make a Difference Day. She said:- "The first year we took part in CSV Make a Difference Day it was just me and my children who turned up, but we didn't mind, we planted what we could and had a good time doing it. Once the flowers bloomed people started talking and word spread about what we'd done.

The next year we had a much better response and lots of people, including loads of children, take part each year now. It's a great reminder for the children when they pass and see what they achieved - they're really proud and so they should be! This year we'll be planting more bulbs and look forward to a record turn out."

Christopher Tulloch, 16, says "why not?" when asked why he volunteers. He's been helping at community groups with his Mum ever since he can remember and volunteering is now very much in his blood. "It makes me feel good knowing I've helped and made a difference. It sounds cliché I know, but it's really important to give back and think about how you can help society. I help at Cadets now, and Beavers with my Mum; I've fundraised and helped with packing and planting for our CSV Make a Difference Day events. It's a great way to share time as a family. People spend so much time at work these days and I think there's a real need to do something different and get out into the community as a family. It's a great way to meet other families too and the more people you know, the safer the neighbourhood feels."

Marie Tulloch, 19, is looking forwards to starting her course in Beijing next year and is already thinking of ways she can volunteer there. "I've met some amazing and inspirational people through volunteering and gained loads of experience which has certainly helped me with University applications and I'm sure will help when I look for work in the future. I've been helping young children at a Primary school speak French and German. A group of us has been helping small groups of children who were falling behind the rest of the class but now they've really improved and caught up with their class mates. It's so good to see that transformation and to know you've been a massive part of it. It can be challenging sometimes, but really rewarding too. I'm also very interested in science so have helped at science days at a local school - which again is great experience for me. I'm really glad my Mum got us all into volunteering. We all really respect out community, know lots of people and have learned loads of skills. Thanks Mum!"

Jenny Higgins volunteers with her family to run a charity which helps Hanna Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jenny was inspired to help whilst in Africa on holiday. She visited the orphanage when looking for a suitable place to donate some left over holiday money, and decided she wanted to do more on return to the UK. With her mother, brother, sister and Nan she organises fundraising events in aid of the orphanage. 

Jenny said:- “We were always a fairly close family, but we have grown closer through volunteering together. It’s lovely to have a shared goal, and we do spend a lot of time as a family doing it. My sister’s ten years younger than me, so we might not spend much time together normally. I’d definitely recommend it to other families; it gives you an opportunity to share a goal and a passion, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s something that my mum, sister, brother, Nan and I really love doing together – we’re really supportive of one another and are really proud to be a part of something so positive.”

All of the activities that people wish to do more with their families can be linked to volunteering.

This year the campaign will encourage people to grow pumpkins for the CSV Great British Pumpkin competition and then bake pumpkin pies following a recipe from celebrity chef Rachel Allen.

Volunteers with some creative skills are encouraged to make customise T-shirts to be donated following designs by Wayne Hemmingway or create a mosaic house number designed by Andrea Maflin to give to an isolated neighbour.

This year, anyone concerned about improving the environment can register to receive a free ‘How to’ guide to plant a ‘Family Tree’. Many thousands of volunteers will also spend time litter picking and improving community centres and gardens to brighten up their neighbourhoods.

This latest research builds on earlier research(2) commissioned by Make a Difference Day about the positive impact of volunteering which reveals that:-

► 55% of the population feel happier when they help a neighbour or friend with a problem, rising to 67% for the over 65s

► 47% of all volunteers say volunteering improves their physical fitness

► 25% who volunteer more than 5 times a year say it helps them lose weight

► 48% who have volunteered for more than 2 years say volunteering makes them less depressed.

► Up to 63% of people say volunteering helps them feel less stressed.

► Up to 17% of volunteers say it improves their sex lives

CSV Make a Difference Day is on Saturday, 30 October 2010, with activities taking place a week either side.

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