One in four over 45’s do not have a neighbour they can call on for a favour, according to a new study launched today (18 January). The research by the Co-op shows that almost a quarter (23.3 per cent) of over 45’s claim to have no one living nearby who they can turn to for help. That figure falls to one in six (16.8 per cent) for those under 35. On average across all ages when asked how many neighbours they could depend on for a favour (21.3 per cent) said they have no one. Southampton is the most isolated place with 32 per cent of people saying they have no neighbours to drop in on.
The research, conducted among 2,000 adults across the UK, shows that on average Brits can call on 2.6 neighbours for help and that a parcel delivery is now far and away the main reason someone would call on the person next door for a favour. Seven out of ten (72 per cent) say they would ask a neighbour to accept a package. A third of the Brits interviewed (32 per cent) are prepared to borrow a tool or would request a cup of sugar (30 per cent).
The study, designed to act as a snapshot of the health of the UK’s community spirit, has been released as the Co-op steps up its efforts to foster a greater sense of community in towns and villages across the UK. The member-owned organisation, which has a Food or Funeral outlet in every postal area across the UK, has launched its Join Us campaign which will use cinema and social media to highlight a series of powerful and inspiring short films by the acclaimed British director Shane Meadows. According to the findings of the research, Sheffield is the community capital of the UK where three in four (75 per cent) respondents would be happy to call on up to five people to request a good turn.
The Co-op launched its community-focused member offer in September last year, with members and their communities rewarded every time they buy own brand products or services. Members receive a five per cent reward with a further one per cent directly benefiting local charities, according to the terms of the new scheme. Since the launch of the new scheme around £3m has been raised for more than 4,000 good causes across the country.
Rufus Olins, Chief Membership Officer at the Co-op, said: “Community is the vital lifeblood of the UK. Having neighbours that you can turn to, whether that’s to take in a parcel, borrow some milk or just for a chat, is so important. We all want to feel part of a community and know that someone is there to help a hand.”
“This research shows that we have much to do to improve our neighbourly spirit and foster that sense of community and at the Co-op we want to do our bit as we champion a better way of doing business.” “The Co-op is back and our members and our communities are once again at the heart of all we do.” “We are delighted that such an esteemed director as Shane Meadows has chosen to work with us as we aim to introduce a new generation to the Co-op.”
“Nobody else could have captured the uniqueness of British communities in the way he has. Like us Shane believes in the power of people working together to change things and the difference Co-ops can make in strengthening communities.”
A four minute version of Shane Meadow’s work to create a series of powerful and inspiring short films to illustrate the Co-op’s work with local causes will be shown in cinemas across the UK from 20th January.