Society now less caring at Christmas, say adults

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The Independent Online

Half of all adults think society is less caring at Christmas than a generation ago, a survey released yesterday suggests.

One in five believes that as a nation we are much less caring during the festive season than 30 years ago and nearly a third think generosity has slightly declined, according to a Mori survey of 1,900 people. While 32 per cent think attitudes have not changed, another 10 per cent think that society has become more caring over the past three decades.

Despite the negative perception, the reality is that charities relying on volunteers and donations report healthy levels of support.

The results were released by Crisis, a charity to help the homeless, which said it had no shortage of volunteers this Christmas. Its income from donations had risen enormously in the past 30 years and had only "plateaued" at £5.8m in the past three or four years.

Shaks Gosh, chief executive of Crisis, said: "We have the generosity of hundreds of volunteers who give up their time to care for homeless and vulnerable people." While John Downie, director of St Botolph's charity for the homeless, said the charity had not noticed any drop in giving.

Figures from the National Centre for Volunteering show 56 per cent of adults give some time to charity, compared with 44 per cent in 1981.