A survey by Populus for the Charities Aid Foundation says 3.7 million households use charitable services once a week, 500,000 more than did so two years ago.

The research, based on a Populus survey of 2,054 UK adults carried out in February, found that 3.7 million households used charitable services once a week, an increase of 500,000 on a similar survey carried out in 2014.

Researchers found that 98 per cent of households had used a charitable service at some point in the past, compared with 93 per cent in 2014.

Using a charity’s services is defined as interacting with anything a charity does, such as accessing medical support or financial advice, seeking help on a charity’s website or visiting a charity shop.

Charity shops were the most widely used service according to the survey, with 88 per cent of respondents reporting using charity shops in the past year. Visiting a charity-run gallery, museum, house or gardens (73 per cent), attending a church or other religious institution (51 per cent), getting advice or information from a charity website (51 per cent), attending a university (48 per cent) or visiting a community, youth or voluntary group (47 per cent) were also found to be prominent ways in which the public depended on charities.

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The full report on the survey’s findings, called Charity Street 2, will be published by CAF in June.