Humanist students overwhelmingly want non-religious pastoral support on campus

3 January, 2018

A survey conducted by Humanists Students shows that close to 100% of respondents think that non-religious pastoral carers should be appointed to university chaplaincy and pastoral support teams. Humanists UK is committed to ensuring that all people with non-religious beliefs have access to pastoral support, just as religious people have access to such support. Through its Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network, it is building a network of trained and accredited pastoral carers to provide that support, and now has nearly 150 operating across a range of institutional settings throughout the UK.

The survey was conducted with 400 students who signed up as members of Humanist Students, Humanists UK’s student section. Nearly 75% of those signed up responded to the survey.  When asked ‘do you think that the university chaplaincy department should have a dedicated non-religious pastoral carer on the team alongside the religious providers?’ 99.9% of respondents responded positively. Additionally, 97.5% stated that if there was a non-religious pastoral carer on the university’s chaplaincy and pastoral support team they would be inclined to use the service. Although these results are non-scientific, the extremely overwhelming level of support suggests that demand would be reflected amongst the wider humanist student populace.

Humanists UK Head of Pastoral Support Simon O’Donoghue commented, ‘The results of this survey clearly show that non-religious students both want and would use non-religious pastoral support on their university campuses. We are committed to providing specialised like-minded support in all locations where there is a current lack. As our network continues to make gains in fulfilling this requirement in hospitals, hospices, prisons, we are looking to meet this need in universities as well.’


For further comment or information contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan, Campaigns Officer at or 020 7324 3065.

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At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and campaigning work, we’re committed to creating a fair and equal society for all.

Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: