Is Britain becoming less neighbourly? New research by Admiral home insurance suggests we are. It found less than a third of us make an effort to get to know our neighbours when we move house while four out of ten of us wish our neighbourhood was more ‘neighbourly’. We don’t even pop next door for a ‘cup of sugar’ anymore; only one in six of us have borrowed a missing ingredient from a neighbour.
Admiral home insurance surveyed 2,000 people to find out just how well they know their neighbours and whether they ever help each other out. It found that while most are on speaking terms with the people they live next door to, they keep them at arm’s length. Only 6% of those questioned said they don’t know their neighbours, but a third don’t know their neighbours’ names and only a quarter have a proper chat when they meet them in the street.
Admiral home insurance spokesperson, Justin Beddows, said, “It’s a shame so many people don’t bother to get to know their neighbours. Being friendly with the people in your street or apartment block can make life so much more pleasant.
“It’s particularly sad that the majority of us don’t make an effort to get to know our neighbours when we move house. When you consider you will be living so close to these people for many years, surely it’s just polite to call round to say hello.”
Britain’s lack of neighbourly love could even be a security risk, especially during the summer holidays with few of us relying on neighbours to keep an eye on our property while we are away. The majority (55%) of us don’t even tell our neighbours when we are going away on holiday, despite this being good common sense. Admiral’s research suggests there could be an issue of trust, with only a quarter of those questioned saying they would trust their next door neighbour with a key to their house. And only a third (35%) saying they have looked after their neighbours’ house while they were away.
Jim Maddan OBE,Chairman of the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network, said: “Neighbourliness seems to have slipped down the agenda in our busy lives, and this important survey by Admiral has highlighted the issues. At this time of year when we are often away on holiday, it is vitally important that we share our plans with our neighbours, if only to ask them to feed the pets, water the plants or to make the house look lived-in. In this way burglaries can be prevented and we can do each other a good turn.”
However, it’s not all bad news; when asked what they would do if they noticed something suspicious happening in their neighbour’s property, 44% said they would go next door to investigate.
Admiral’s study revealed some parts of the UK are more neighbourly than others. Only 3% of those in Northern Ireland, and 4% in Wales, the South West and the North West said they don’t know their neighbours. Northern Ireland (79%) and the South West (73%) also had the highest percentage who knew their neighbours’ names. This compares with 49% in London.
Visit www.admiral.com/neighbourhood for more information and a breakdown of the results by region and type of house.