TIM DREW: Raise community spirit with a simple greeting or smile

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

A recent survey by the Co-op showed that one in five UK residents admitted that they had not spoken a word to their neighbours in more than a month – and some had never spoken to them at all.

17 per cent of us have not offered a word of greeting to our neighbours in more than a week – and 43 per cent have left it longer than a month.

Of the 2,021 UK residents questioned, almost one in ten people last spoke to their neighbours more than six months ago, while three per cent had never spoken to them.

Around two-thirds (64 per cent) said that keeping themselves to themselves was the main reason for not striking up a conversation.

The survey also revealed that more than half the population (55 per cent) stated that they regularly experience feelings of loneliness.

Richard Pennycook, the Co-op’s group chief executive, said: “The days of chatting over the fence and taking time to get to know our neighbours appear to belong to a bygone age for some Brits.

“There are many ways we can connect with our neighbours – but busy lives often mean we sometimes don’t always make the time to stop and talk.

“A quick ‘Hello, how are you?’ or just a smile might make a difference to someone’s day.

“It’s within our gift to make the effort – it may be the only human contact that person has had in the day.”

Don’t forget that elderly folk living on their own are often especially susceptible to social isolation and loneliness, and these are the very people who tend to fall victim most frequently to fraudsters.

So a friendly word or two might make all the difference by helping to reduce that likelihood and encouraging them to feel as though they are part of the community again.

No neighbourhood panels or surgeries will be held over the coming week.


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