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More than half of Britons describe their neighbours as 'strangers'

Seventy three per cent of Britons don't know their neighbour's names

Emma Elsworthy
Tuesday 29 May 2018 14:02 BST
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More than half of Britons barely say a word to their neighbours
More than half of Britons barely say a word to their neighbours (Getty Images)

Britain’s sense of community spirit is in decline, according to a new poll, which found that more than half of respondents barely said a word to their neighbours and 68 per cent describe them as “strangers”.

Two thirds admitted days can pass without them seeing others living on the same street, while 73 per cent said they didn't even know their names.

Half said they did not feel part of a “good neighbourly community” and nine in 10 admitted they never volunteer to help out with local charities and groups.

Only one in 10 said they would assist with a local tidy up, 12 per cent would help with a charity event and a four per cent would organise a fundraiser or attend a fun run.

Four in 10 said they felt no sense of pride about where they live and 84 per cent fail to participate in any local events.

“It’s a shock and disappointment to discover that Britain’s community spirit – for so long a national feature which bonded people together – was in decline," said Roy Prenton, from Skipton Building Society, which carried out the survey. “Wouldn’t it be great to try and turn this around and help rebuild our communities to bring them alive again?

The study found 51 per cent of respondents had no idea what the children next door are called, while 55 per cent did not know what profession their neighbours work in.

Two thirds could not hazard a guess at the ages of those living in the next house, while three quarters would not know what hobbies and interests they have or whether they have extended family.

Only seven per cent of those polled would regularly socialise with their neighbours by way of dinner dates and barbeques and less than one in ten would consider organising and getting involved in a street party to get to know everyone better.

A fifth admitted the only reason they interact with the neighbours is when they want them to do a favour such as watering the plants or feeding the cat and the same percentage claims just because they live next door to someone, does not mean they have to be friends with them.

In addition to the adversity to getting to know the neighbours, only half of respondents support local businesses by shopping with them and just 18 per cent would attend rage days, carnivals and fetes.

Roy Prenton added: “It’s a fact that loneliness is terrible epidemic in the UK and by inviting people to join our branch colleagues for a picnic we hope in some small way to help bring our communities together. It’s also appropriate that Skipton’s picnics will take place around the UK’s National Picnic Week which is being held from 15 June.”

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