Taking a parcel in for a neighbour, inviting next door round for dinner and having a pint in the local pub are among the best ways to settle into a new community, according to a study.
Researchers also found simply saying hello, having a cup of tea with the neighbours and getting a dog are sure-fire ways to get to know your locals.
The study also identified the signs you’ve been accepted into a community, including bumping into someone you know every time you go out and receiving a Christmas card from a neighbour.
Amid this four in ten said it takes up to six months to settle into a new community.
The research of 2,000 adults was commissioned by Making Local Woods Work, a woodland social enterprise partnership.
Norman Dandy of Making Local Woods Work said: “It’s the simplest things that can make the difference between someone settling into a new community quickly or not.
“Just saying “hello” or taking a parcel in for a neighbour can be all it takes.
“With one fifth agreeing that volunteering for a local community project can help people settle locally, there’s never been a better time to hunt out a woodland social enterprise project and spend time with people from your community.”
Volunteering for a local community project, attending the school fete and putting your neighbour’s rubbish out when they’re away are also among the best ways to settle into a neighbourhood.
While having people confide in you and being on first name terms with 20 or more people are other signs you have truly become part of the local community – along with the kids being invited round to a mates for tea.
Two in five said hectic lifestyles are to blame for not getting to know the local community better.
Three in ten wish they knew their neighbour better, although three quarters said they have made an effort to integrate into their local community.
Almost two thirds of those polled believe community engagement is an important function of society.
Norman Dandy of Making Local Woods Work, which is funded through the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund, added: “It’s good to see that almost two thirds of people see community engagement as important - that is exactly what our woodland social enterprises do, helping communities to gel.”
To find out more about your nearest woodland project and how you can get involved, visit www.makinglocalwoodswork.org.
TOP 10 BEST WAYS TO SETTLE IN:
1. Say hello to your neighbours
2. Visit the local pub
3. Take in a parcel for your neighbour
4. Make an effort to talk to everyone on the street
5. Invite neighbours round for a cup of tea
6. Volunteer for a local community project
7. Invite your neighbour round for dinner or a BBQ
8. Offer to watch a neighbour’s house while away
9.Attend the local school fete
10. Get a dog