Bond between neighbours is on the decline

A survey commissioned by Co-operatives UK in advance of the first ever Co-operatives Fortnight (June 19th to July 3rd) has found that the UK is less than half...

The research, conducted online by YouGov last month, also revealed that 49 per cent of British people now know more about their favourite celebrity than they do about their neighbour.

People living in Scotland know more of their neighbours’ names than anyone else in the UK and, in England, it’s the Northerners who know most of the names of their neighbours. Londoners are least likely to know their neighbours with 11 per cent being unable to name any. People in Wales have more close friends than others across the UK.

The study also reveals that in 2010, the majority of us speak to our neighbours once a week or less often (66 per cent), one in four of us (27 per cent) hold a spare key for our neighbours and while the number of people looking after pets or plants has halved (now 23 per cent), and over 30 million people take in parcels for those next door.

A significant number of people also take steps to keep an eye on those in our neighbourhood who are elderly or disabled — 26 per cent keep an eye on a non- relative and 11 per cent on relatives — and 21 million conversations are taking place each day between neighbours.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “It is intriguing that we see our neighbours much less, but we like them more!

“While it is true that our streets have changed, Britain at heart still thinks of itself as a neighbourly nation and the reciprocity of contact, conversation and assistance across the garden fence or front drive is still a major driver for co-operation and trust in Britain today. 

“And our research confirms that you don’t need to love your neighbour, but it does help to get on.”

• The survey is published in a report ‘Co-operative Streets: Neighbours in the UK’ which can be downloaded at:

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