1 in 5 of us couldn't call a neighbour if we needed help.
Nattering with the neighbours is a thing of the past in Northern Ireland according to a new survey out today which reveals half of the population hasn’t chatted over the garden fence or outside their homes in at least a month and nearly 1 in 5 has never spoken to their neighbours at all.
It seems that making friends on the doorstep may becoming a thing of the past for many in Northern Ireland as 46% of us don’t know our neighbours’ names and only 25% would knock on a new neighbour’s door to welcome them to the neighbourhood. Nearly 70% of the population don’t feel they know their neighbours well.
In a poll of 4,000 people undertaken by The Big Lunch, over three quarters of all respondents in Northern Ireland (81%) felt that people were closer to their neighbours 20 years ago than they are today.
- 1 in 5 of us has NEVER spoken to our neighbours
- 1 in 5 of us don’t feel we could call on ANYONE in our neighbourhood for help
- Almost three quarters of us wouldn’t introduce ourselves to a new neighbour or aren’t sure we’d even bother to say hello
- Over 40% of us don’t know our neighbours names
- Half the population hasn’t chatted with a neighbour in the last month
But despite a lack of community chatter, there is a strong appetite for getting to know our neighbours better. 78% of the Northern Irish population think it is better for communities if we know our neighbours and 59% would say ‘yes’ if a neighbour invited them round for tea.
This is reassuring news for Presenter & Comedian Jo Brand, Ambassador of The Big Lunch. “At a time when the UK feels so divided and disconnected, it seems more important than ever to come together and remember the importance of community spirit. It saddens me to think that 1 in 5 of us don’t feel we could call on a neighbour if we needed help. It’s such a shame that so many people don’t even know the people they live closest to. The Big Lunch is the perfect way to address this. Every year millions of people get together to share food, have fun and get to know each other better. I went to my first one last year - a street party with a real mix of people chatting, eating and just getting to know each other better. That’s what neighbourhoods should be about. Lots of vulnerable members of our society can go weeks without seeing or talking to another person, so anything that encourages a bit of human contact gets a thumbs up from me….and a double thumbs up if it involves cake! “
The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project, made possible by The National Lottery, now attracts millions of people across the UK. Last year 6 million people took part in over 68,500 Big Lunch events. This summer it’s getting even bigger and is being turned into a two-day event, June 1-2.
Peter Stewart of the Eden Project is delighted with the UK’s response to The Big Lunch, he says: “Every year it keeps getting bigger as more and more people realise the importance of community and the benefit of knowing their neighbours. We know that when people come together good things happen and that is what The Big Lunch is all about. We’re thrilled to see so many people across the UK joining in and having fun as we know The Big Lunch is just a spark that helps to build happier and more resilient communities where people know one another and neighbourhoods thrive.”
To commemorate 10 years of The Big Lunch, a major new research report has been commissioned - ‘How close are we to our neighbours and does it matter?’
National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland and Eden Project Communities work together on The Big Lunch bringing people together and helping neighbourhoods thrive.
If you would like more information and a free Big Lunch pack visit www.thebiglunch.com or contact Northern Ireland manager Grainne McCloskey, 07703189048