Census forms popping through Sunderland letterboxes

Postman Andrew Smith sorting out census forms watched by census staff, from left; Connor Ridley, Celia Samater, Ian Gillard and David Kelly at Washington Royal Mail Sorting Office.
Postman Andrew Smith sorting out census forms watched by census staff, from left; Connor Ridley, Celia Samater, Ian Gillard and David Kelly at Washington Royal Mail Sorting Office.
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HERE is the first batch of Census questionnaires that will be landing on Wearsiders’ doormats from today.

The distinctive purple and white envelopes have started their journey to the city’s 125,000 households – one of the biggest single mailouts Royal Mail has handled – as the country’s biggest historical recording gets into full swing.

By Census Day on March 27, every household will have one.

Next month, the team of nine field staff will hit the city’s streets to help people complete their census forms.

The data processing centre has now opened its doors for business, the census helpline is ready to roll and the online facility is set to receive the first of many completed census questionnaires.

Celia Samater, 2011 Census area manager for Sunderland, said: “People should look out for the purple and white envelope landing on their doormat in the next two weeks.

“Now that the forms are being mailed out we’re in great shape for the 2011 Census.

“Once people get their form, they can, if they prefer, fill it in online. This will be quicker and it’s better for us because we won’t need to scan the forms and decipher all that handwriting.

“Of course, if people want, they can still do it by hand. Completing the Census form promptly and sending it back to us means no-one will have to knock on your door to remind you.

“Census statistics enable the authorities in England and Wales to plan properly for the future for school places, housing, roads, emergency services and a host of other local services.”

The Census, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, is carried out once every 10 years and provides an estimate of the population of England and Wales.

Personal information included on the questionnaire is kept confidential and protected by law.

It is used by the Government to allocate funding to services such as education, transport and health.

Local and central government policy makers also use the statistics to understand the needs of communities.

The information given on the forms is stored and kept secret for 100 years.

THIS information is often popular with people trying to trace their family history.

The form can be filled in online at www.census.gov.uk