Love Thy Neighbour; Really?

Greeting One's Neighbours at a Jubilee Street Party

Greeting One's Neighbours at a Jubilee Street Party

Call me a sentimental old fool, but I often reminisce about my time spent growing up in a village in the Cheshire countryside where people spoke to their neighbours and actually spent time getting to know one another.  Now, having spent more than half of my life as a fully signed up Londoner, I wistfully look back on that time through rose-tinted glasses as a lost era of neighbourliness.

But, if HSBC can be believed, it looks as if the nation as a whole is actually starting to get MORE neighbourly.

In its annual neighbourhood survey, the bank revealed that across the UK we’re ‘having more interactions with the people that we live near to’ – or to put it more plainly, we’re becoming friendlier and more neighbourly.

The survey tracked whether people had:

  • Been inside a neighbours home (56% had, up from 42% in 2011)
  • Lent them something (47% had, up from 37% in 2011)
  • Borrowed something (33% had, up from 26% in 2011)
  • Fed their pets / watered their plants (28% had, up from 13% in 2011)
  • Exchanged spare house keys (22% had, up from 11% in 2011)
  • BBQed together (14% had, up from 11% in 2011)
  • Children who played together (12% had, up from 7% in 2011)

This sudden urge to be more involved in the community that’s on one’s doorstep isn’t confined to people who own their own home; those in the rented sector are also more likely to know people living near-by too.  41% of tenants have been inside their neighbours’ home (up 13% on 2011) and 32% have borrowed something from their neighbour (up 16% on last year’s figure).

Interestingly, the survey shows that the gap between owner occupiers’ and renters has narrowed significantly over the past year – perhaps as a result of the raft of shared celebrations surrounding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and our focus on the forthcoming Olympic Games?

Whatever the reason behind it, lets hope that it’s an attitude that’s here to stay because neighbourliness is the thread that stitches any community together.

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