Census 2021 will be key to making sure the big decisions on the future of our hospitals, schools, transport and other public services, following the pandemic and EU exit, are based on the best information possible.

Run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the census – Sunday 21st March is Census Day – is the once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all people and households in England and Wales.

The digital-first census will not only provide a fresh picture of the size of all communities, it will also shed light on the health, social and economic changes to our lives.

“After years of planning, the census is almost upon us,” census director of operations Pete Benton said. “In the coming days and weeks you will be hearing more and more about why the census is so important, why you must take part and, crucially, how you can take part. Every household will soon receive a postcard, explaining what a census is, and in early March letters will arrive in the post inviting people to take part in the digital-first census.

“In light of the coronavirus pandemic, we need this up-to-date information to help shape vital services for the years to come more urgently than ever before and we are making sure everyone can be safely counted in line with all government guidance.

“We have made it simple, straightforward and safe to take part. It takes just 10 minutes per person to fill out your form and if you can’t get online, there are paper forms available for those who need them, as well as lots of support. Now is the time to make your mark on history.”

Running the census in times of a pandemic has naturally thrown up some challenges and the ONS’ focus is ensuring the safety of the public. “We want everyone to be safely counted and we’re making sure our plans are always in line with the latest government guidelines,” Pete said.

“Census field officers will only follow up with households after Census Day on March 21 if householders have not yet completed their questionnaire. They will never enter a household, they will always be socially distanced, be equipped with PPE and work in line with all government guidance.”

Some questions also have updated guidance to reflect our changed living and working circumstances. Pete added: “For those on furlough, we have updated guidance on how to answer questions on work. All students need to be included in the census, and they should complete it for their usual term-time address. If they’re currently living at their home address, they will need to be included in the census for that household too.”

For the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

First results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

Another first in the 2021 census is ONS has employed 300 Census Engagement Managers to support and work with communities across England & Wales to take part and complete their questionnaire, ensuring to make Census 2021 a success.

Harry Farmer, the town’s Census Engagement Manager, will help organisations, charities, faith groups and community leaders within the town raise awareness of the census and the value to residents in taking part.

“I am looking forward to engaging with as many of the communities of Eastbourne as possible, offering my help and support to ensure a successful engagement and participation in Census 2021. Due to continued Covid-19 restrictions this has been conducted via online meetings rather than face to face meetings or out walking around Eastbourne’s communities which I have missed. With the assistance of Eastbourne Borough Council, their Councillors and key organisations like 3VA . I am confident of making communities aware of the importance of taking part in Census 2021”

For more information, visit census.gov.uk.

Census 2021 helpline 0800 141 2021 (English)

Census 2021 helpline 0800 587 2021 (Language)

Please call if you require help with; Finding your local census support centre. Ordering a household paper questionnaire, individual questionnaires , continuation forms and large print or braille forms. Or help to complete the census questionnaire, support with the Language line.

Opening Dates: 1st March 2021- 26th June 2021

Opening Times

Monday – Friday 8.00 -20.00

Saturday 8.00 – 13.00

Sunday closed

Plus Census Weekend (Saturday 20th- Sunday 21st March 2021) open 8.00-20.00 both days

Interactive Voice recordings (IVR) 24/7

Automated paper request line 24/7

Follow @Census2021 on Twitter and Facebook