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Neighbourliness Boosted by Street Parties

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21/07/2011 16:28:54

The UK has become more neighbourly in the last year.

The annual survey into community co-operation for Co-operatives UK, are attributing this change to greater economic hardship encouraging us to share and rely on neighbours more, as well as events such as the royal wedding in which 1 million people took part in over 5,500 street parties across the UK.

The average adult in the UK now knows 8 of their neighbours by name (up from 7 a year ago) and each day an estimated 26 million conversations between neighbours take place (an increase from 21 million). Over 16 million of us (16.3 m) visit our neighbours at least once a month, an increase of 2 million since 2010.

We are also helping our neighbours more, with increasing numbers looking after pets or plants (32% up from 23%), fetching shopping (15% up from 6%) and accepting mail or parcels (73% up fro 63%).

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, believes that increased sharing is a natural result of people feeling under financial pressure. “It’s a bit of cliché, but genuinely a crisis seems to bring out the best in people. 

“There are many practical financial advantages to being more neighbourly, sharing costs and getting free help with household tasks. Also, we know that sharing increases our sense of well-being and happiness, so getting more immersed in local community is a simple way people can help cope with stressful times and financial pressures.

“Also, national events such as the Royal Wedding do tend to have a legacy of greater community spirit as demonstrated by our findings.”

However, it seems that increased contact with our neighbours may also lead to a rise in disputes, with the number of people reporting problems with their neighbours rising to 50%.

The most common disputes involve noise (24% experienced such problems), poor behaviour (11%), the growth of trees and bushes (10%) and disruptive children (10%).

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