The desire for community spirit is alive and well on the streets of the UK, as over a third (35%) of UK adults want to know their neighbours better according to new research from Barratt Homes. However despite good intentions, many people face a neighbourliness gap due to the lack of relationship building currently taking place in neighbourhoods across the UK. Nearly 20% of UK adults don’t actually invite their neighbours into their home, and 56% of neighbours only get as far as next door’s front door.
The top reasons for not letting the neighbours in are:
- 24% want to keep their home private
- Almost one in five (19%) feel they have nothing in common with their neighbours
- 19% worry that their house will be seen as messy or unkempt
- 15% fear their neighbours will judge them
- One in ten (13%) admitted it’s because they don’t like their neighbours
Closing the neighbourliness gap
Those living in new builds are leading the way on reversing this though – they are more likely to socialise with their neighbours (15%) than those living in older properties (5%), and almost 20% of people living in new builds have their neighbours on social media, compared to just 5% of those in older homes. UK adults highlighted wanting to feel part of the community (35%), making new friendships (29%), and having someone close by to rely on (25%) as the top reasons for wanting to be friends with next door.
Additional neighbourliness gap facts:
- On average we only know five neighbours’ names
- 15% of us only speak to them every six months or more
- 40% don’t know our neighbours’ occupations
- A third (32%) don’t know how many children they have,
- 35% don’t know what car they drive
Bringing the community together
The most welcoming neighbourhoods across the country are Wales, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, with at least 38% of households happy to open their doors to their neighbours.
Speaking about the importance of design in creating new communities, Patrick Law, Corporate Affairs Director at Barratt Developments said: ‘’Creating places where people want to live is just as important as the quality of individual homes. All the developments Barratt build are carefully designed thinking about how the new neighbourhood will work particularly in terms of the way open and shared space can be used by the new local community.
"As this research shows there's more to a great home than just bricks and mortar. Knowing that you live in a community that is safe and a great place to bring up your children gives you real peace of mind."
Top tips from Barratt Homes on how to get over the neighbourliness gap:
- Don’t wait - introduce yourself to your neighbours within the first few days of moving in to help you get off on the right foot. Delaying makes it more embarrassing later
- Ask them questions – it could be for advice on local groups or clubs that you might like to join, or their recommendation on the best local pub or restaurant – it will get you chatting and you’re are likely to quickly find common ground
- Don’t be afraid to start an interaction. Our research highlighted that many people are reluctant to make the first move or ask a favour, but that we are willing to help our neighbours. So whether you’d like someone to water your plants or fancy a play date during the summer holidays ask away – you’ll be pleasantly surprised
- Host a summer get-together for those that live around you
- Offer to help older neighbours with their chores when you have spare time, washing their car, picking up milk, or cutting their grass will go a long way – and chances are you’ll feel good too
For more information on Barratt Homes and building communities visit: http://www.barratthomes.co.uk/New-is/Where-your-family-grows/