Action Zones 

Norfolk survey of 20,000 names top concerns

WhocaresNewday2Death, suffering, relationship and family problems, disappointment and injustice are the burning issues that most concern people across Norfolk, according to the 20,000 who responded to a recent survey by 60 local churches

 And in response to the “Who Cares?” survey, many of those same churches are now taking steps to help people understand the challenges that are really causing pain in their lives and offer programmes of practical support and hope

 Over the past three months, 60 churches of different denominations across Norfolk have received nearly 20,000 responses to a one-question survey, believed to be one of the largest-ever surveys of its kind, asking simply: “What hurts the most?”

 Project leader, Rob Tervet, said: “Many people feel no-one truly cares about their problems. In fact, a third of people recently admitted in a survey that they felt they had nobody to turn to in a crisis. The church is one community that cares unconditionally for every person on the planet”

 The Who Cares? survey results show that the top six responses across Norfolk are:

  • Family challenges – 6.6% ‘Being a first-time parent in the early days with little support.’
  • Injustice – 6.7% ‘Trying my hardest to succeed when others are given success because they were born into an advantage.’
  • Disappointment – 7% ‘Haunted by regrets from poor decisions.’
  • Relationship problems – 9% ‘When people pretend to be your friends, but lie and stab you in the back.’
  • Physical suffering – 12% ‘My mum having cancer and my sister having leukaemia.’
  • Death – 14% ‘Struggling with the pain and loss of a loved one and struggling to find my fit in the world’ 

Churches across the region are now hosting a series of events responding to these results:

  • Lowestoft Community Church is holding a number of informal talks and running both daytime and evening Alpha courses. (
  • The Gateway Church, King's Lynn is dedicating some of their Sunday services to covering the biggest issues raised in that area, including sickness, family issues, injustice and money worries. (
  • Ipswich Road United Reformed Church, Norwich is opening up for a number of informal café church meetings, addressing the top four answers in their region – including prayer for healing. (
  • Holy Trinity, Norwich is hosting informal talks in local pubs, as well as sessions in other places around the Golden Triangle. Topics covered include poverty and break-ups. (

Who Cares? is also heading into schools across the county. “We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to take the survey to pupils here in Norfolk,” said Pete Tyson, from Norwich Youth for Christ. “Often young people feel as though nobody understands them, so it’s great to be able to listen and find out what’s really at the heart of their troubles” 

Rob said: “People are often surprised at the difference the church makes – nationally we provide half the parent and toddler support groups, along with the biggest network of debt counselling, with 190 drop-in centres helping over 19,141 individuals last year alone.
“The church gave 72 million hours of volunteer work to social initiatives last year with an estimated value of £1.5 billion. We will feed 100,000 hungry people this year alone. And yet we want to do more than show compassion – while we don’t’ claim to have all the answers, we’ve found hope in Jesus and we want to share it.”

Interesting facts

  • Women were 50% more likely than men to answer that loneliness hurt the most.
  • Death represents the most common response for every age category except over 65s who said physical suffering hurts the most.
  • Under 18s were more than twice as likely to say ‘abuse’ than any other age group.
  • Those in urban areas were twice as likely as those in rural areas to say feelings of worthlessness hurts the most.  

Click here to read our previous story on this topic

Reproduced from the Network Norfolk website. Used with permission.