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How often do you knock?

February 27, 2013
Author: Fay

Front door

Research we’ve carried out among 3,000 adults has found that more than half of those surveyed don’t know their neighbours, with one in four having no idea what their names are! The key reasons holding people back from knocking next door include a lack of time, shyness, or worries about getting on with their neighbours.

  • 36 per cent of Brits don’t think they would have anything in common with their neighbours
  • 18 per cent said they never see their neighbours to even say hello
  • More than one in ten even admitted they are too shy or scared to start up a conversation.

But don’t worry, the study also found that three quarters of people would like there to be more community spirit in their area:

  • 52 per cent of those saying it would make their neighbourhood feel safer while 53 per cent simply want to make new friends.
  • 46 per cent admitted they want to get to know their neighbours better so they can ask them to keep an eye on their home, garden or pets when they go away.
  • 35 per cent of people introduce themselves to a neighbour as soon as they move in somewhere new.
  • 31 per cent think it would mean a safer environment for their children to play in with another 59 per cent saying it would make people happier.

Over half of us who have knocked on a neighbour’s door have had something surprising happen to us as a result, such as making a new friend, being helped when in trouble or even starting a new hobby!

Our founder, Sir Tim Smit, has said:  “If you get to know your neighbours, not only does it create a happier, safer environment to live in, but you will probably find they are happy to help you out with your pets or water your plants when you go on holiday. You never know, you might even end up with a new best friend, simply from knocking on your neighbour’s door to say hello.”

Behavioural expert Judi James, agrees saying: “This research shows that the benefits of making bonds with our neighbours are practical, in terms of heightened security, and emotional.  When we know our neighbours we can feel safer and happier. Our boundaries expand and our sense of loneliness and isolation shrinks. There’s no need to feel you’re taking a huge plunge when you start to get to know your neighbours. It’s the ice-breaker effect that is needed to convert strangers into possible friends or acquaintances.”

Sir Tim continues: “With 8.5 million people taking part in The Big Lunch last year, there is clearly an appetite for getting together and having fun. Taking place on 2 June this year, the idea is simple; if people start talking to each other, we see stronger, friendlier communities emerging in which people start to share things, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources.

We’ve been through some difficult times recently and if we start those conversations now and build stronger communities, we will be better equipped to face the future together.

So what are you waiting for? Put your reservations behind you and take that first step towards creating a friendlier community, by knocking on your neighbour’s door.” (Sir Tim Smit)

Watch Judi James talk through our research  and read about the launches across the UK here

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