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Historic buildings turn purple to mark census

Published: 19 March 2021

Guildhall on Census Day Exeter Historic Guildhall

Exeter’s historic Guildhall and the Custom House Visitor Centre on the Quay will join more than a hundred buildings and landmarks across England and Wales by lighting up purple to celebrate the upcoming census and its importance to communities.

The event is being organised by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is conjunction with Exeter City Council to raise awareness of the census, a survey that happens every ten years and gives a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.

The two Exeter buildings, along with other iconic landmarks such as the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, BT Tower in London and Blackpool Tower, will light up purple – the Census 2021 brand colour – from Friday evening through to Sunday 21 March.

Exeter Custom House

The census helps inform the provision of public services throughout the UK, such as determining the appropriate number of school places and hospital beds that are needed to properly serve their communities.

Pete Benton, ONS Director of Census Operations, said: “The census is such an important undertaking that helps inform the vital services we all rely on every single day within our communities.

“We wanted to shine a (purple!) light on the buildings and landmarks that matter most to their local areas, highlighting the importance of the census in helping shape the communities we live in.

“We’re thrilled with all the support we have received so far and would like to thank the two historic buildings in Exeter for their participation. Now is the time for everyone to complete their census and be part of history.”

Every household in England and Wales should now have received their census letters with unique access codes enabling them to fill in their census online.  Census day is March 21, but people can fill theirs in before the day if they are confident there will be no change in who usually lives in their household.  Papers forms are available for those who need it, plus a range of other support. For those who need any help, or to request a paper form, they can visit the website  The Census support centre (freephone 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales) is available for those who can’t find the help they need online.

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