Thursday 15th March 2018 – The UK is growing less neighbourly every day according to a major new state of the nation survey from comparethemarket.com. The price comparison website originally polled the nation four years ago to gage neighbourly habits and now, after a few turbulent years including Brexit and a divisive snap election, the nation appears to have grown further apart.
The research paints a less than friendly picture of UK street-life, with falling levels of community spirit appearing to be rooted in growing levels of mistrust. In 2014, 46% of those asked would be happy to leave a key with the people next door in case of an emergency, but only a modest 38% would do so today. This decline is a result of growing distrust amongst communities, as nearly a third (32%) admitted they do not trust their neighbour with a key compared to less than a quarter of Brits in (22%) in 2014.
Brits are also less inclined to lend a hand to their neighbours, with only almost 45% saying they have taken in a parcel for their neighbour while they have been on holiday. This number has dropped from 57% back in 2014. There has also been a significant drop in the number of people who feel comfortable saying hello to locals, with nearly two-thirds (62%) feeling very comfortable in 2014, compared to just half (50%) today
When looking at how the decrease in community spirit affected their behaviour, 39% of people surveyed admitted to deliberately delaying entering or leaving their home to avoid having to speak to their neighbour, this number has shot up from only a quarter (26%) back in 2014.
When it comes to stepping up and taking action, not much has changed in the past four years. Despite the same amount of people welcoming initiatives to make their neighbourhood stronger (32%), the number of people who are a member of their local Neighbourhood Watch has stayed the same, at almost 13%.
While community spirit may be dwindling, there are a number of hot-beds of neighbourly activity in various towns and cities across the UK. Swansea residents have no problem putting their hand up for help, with a huge 88% of them admitted they would ask their street for support if they needed it. Reassuringly, 100% of residents in Gloucester, Worcester and Wrexham all said they felt safe in their cities.
As expected, some neighbourhoods have embraced social media for communicating with other locals over the past few years, with results showing that 21% of people in Leeds communicate with their immediate neighbours via a Facebook group. Nearly one in ten (10%) Wolverhampton residents use a WhatsApp group to speak to their street, while the people of Cambridge keep it traditional, with almost 56% of them preferring to speak directly to their neighbour.
To help those Brits who are having trouble getting into the community spirit, comparethemarket.com has put together a Neighbourly 101 Guide. Top tips include stopping to chat to neighbours in the street, keeping a spare set of keys and taking in their post while on holiday. You can find a link here: https://www.comparethemarket.com/home-insurance/content/how-neighbourly-are-you/