‘Am I going to get one right!?’ – Alesha Dixon in hysterics as she faces tricky quiz

The census is a survey of the population of England and Wales that happens every 10 years. The answers everyone gives in the survey helps the decision makers assess people’s needs and work out the best way to improve communities.

The next one is taking place now – Census Day is March 21 – but previous surveys have highlighted some surprising results, so we decided to quiz Alesha Dixon on her knowledge of England and Wales. Watch above the video to see how she got on.

We also caught up with the singer and TV star to find out what she would like the impact of Census 2021 to be.

What does community mean to you?

Community is a sense of belonging somewhere, and being a part of something. Who are we without a sense of community?

The one thing we've all got in common is that we need each other. It's a support system, and people like to feel they're a part of something, don't they?

I have lived in the same area my whole life, and love the feeling of coming back home and feeling grounded and secure. When you feel like you belong and when you know people and they know you.

What has that support system looked like in your area during lockdown?

It's the small things, like checking in on your neighbours, making sure everyone's OK and being considerate of other people's needs. I think that quality has come out in so many people. That's the bi g gest thing I'm going to take away from this.

The past year has brought people together. We're all going through the same things and the same emotions. From individual communities to the entire country, we have to work together.

One thing can't work without the other. There's no point living a life that is serving yourself and no one else.

The census will help shape services in local areas. What would you like to see in every community?

One of the biggest things is making sure young people have things to do. They need good parks to go to, they need beautiful nature, they need clean communities – they need options.

When kids don't have things to do they get bored, and when kids get bored who knows what can happen? We've all been there. Each community needs to make sure young people don't feel forgotten about.

In your line of work, have you noticed a big difference in the opportunities available to talented young people, depending where they're from?

Absolutely, and this is what we need to get right – a sense of fairness across different communities.

There should be somewhere local that gives children an opportunity to shine. Places they can go to express themselves, with people there who will bring out the best in them, and help them navigate their way to the careers they want.

No child should miss out on anything just because they come from an area less privileged than another. There should always be a place a child can go, to sing or play sport.

How can Census 2021 help with that?

It can make sure public funding goes on the right things in the right areas, to bring about that sense of fairness. It does this across so many different areas – such as healthcare and education and charities.

And if people are forthcoming with their information, then the census is brilliant at understanding what services our communities need.

How hopeful are you feeling about the future right now ?

I think if you don't have hope, you don't have much else. You've got to be optimistic, and you've got to do the best that you can today to make sure that tomorrow is better.

It sounds corny, but I feel like the only way for the world to be a better place for our children is by the actions that we do today. That's literally the only way.

And remembering that we are a community. Yes, collectively there are millions of us, but each individual person has the power to make change.

Never forgetting that individually we can contribute something brilliant to society, and individually we can make good choices that have great impact.

What are you most looking forward to coming out of lockdown?

Just freedom! Freedom to make a choice and not question whether you can do something or not. I like life when it's spontaneous, and lockdown has so many limitations.

So I'm just looking forward to freedom, fun, good food, friends and partying!

Take part in Census 2021 to make sure your community’s needs are represented. Visit census.gov.uk to find out more.

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