ActionAid reveals the UK's most generous cities

1 December 2021

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ActionAid has revealed that Southampton is the most generous city in the UK, and the UK public have donated a total of £4 billion to charity this year.

We reveal the UK’s top givers and asks public to support its Christmas campaign “Let Her Learn”, as 129 million girls remain out of school around the world.

It is not just Christmas that is a time for giving, as the UK public has shown generosity for causes close to their hearts throughout the year, donating a total of £4 billion to charity. New research by ActionAid reveals that the people of Southampton are the nation’s most generous, giving an average of £127.56 to charity each year, compared to £74.74 by the average Brit.  

In fact, 40% of Brits have donated more in the last 12 months, to help others, with a third saying it’s because they are more aware of adversity others are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Young people are much more likely to say the causes they donate to have changed since the pandemic began – more than half (56%) of those aged 25-34 say their causes have changed, compared to just under 1 in 5 (19%) of people aged 55 and over. 

When asked about specific causes, people said they were giving the same or more to causes including supporting the NHS (57%), supporting people with their mental health (55%) and ending violence against women and girls (45%). 45% of Brits also said they have donated the same amount or more to helping children access education, with 80% believing that access to education is a human right, rather than a privilege. Despite this belief, there are 129 million girls out of school around the world,1 a situation only made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is why ActionAid has launched “Let Her Learn”, its Christmas appeal which aims to help girls living in poverty access education and build a future where they are in control of their own lives. 

According to ActionAid girls are expected to forego school to support their families to earn an income. Period poverty, violence on the way to school, early pregnancy and climate change are some of the other barriers girls face. 

ActionAid works with women and girls living in poverty in over 40 countries. This includes ActionAid-supported catch-up centres in Kenya, where 5,000 girls across the country are currently learning literacy and basic skills in vocations such as business, electronics and tailoring, before moving on to formal education or further training.  

Lucky, from Malindi in Kenya, was the only girl able to finish her studies at primary school. She now works in several ActionAid catch-up centres, supporting others to get an education. Lucky is hopeful about her work but says there is still a long way to go. Lucky says: “I believe girls who are forced to drop out can still achieve great things when given the right support. However, we still face many barriers such as the impact of Covid-19 which has forced many girls to leave school.” 

Kath Blaize-Smith, Head of Public Fundraising at ActionAid UK adds: “We need support from the generous UK public more than ever, so people like Lucky can help even more girls receive the free, safe and quality education that is their human right. With a good education girls have the power to change their own futures and it is one of the most effective ways of making lasting change in the world’s poorest communities. In fact, for every year that a girl stays in secondary school, her future earnings increase by 18%. We are always tremendously grateful for the support we receive throughout the year, but especially at Christmas. Thank you for your continued generosity!” 

ActionAid is asking the UK public to donate to its Christmas appeal “Let Her Learn” today. 

Top 5 cities that donate the most per year*:

  • Southampton £127.56
  • Oxford £106.65
  • London £86.71
  • Newcastle £85.83
  • Plymouth £85.03

*on average per person


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Notes to editors 

About the research:   

The research for ActionAid was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 17.11.2021 - 19.11.2021 amongst a panel resulting in 2,012 Natrep 16+ responding.

All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998). 

About ActionAid UK: 

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.