Everybody needs good neighbours

Is our sense of community disappearing in the UK? It's true that these days, compared to fifty years ago, people rarely know the names of their next-door neighbours or are even on nodding acquaintance with them, and a recent survey revealed that more than a quarter of Brits even feel suspicious of the people that live near them.

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The poll of 2,003 Britons, carried out by Legal & General, found that 27 per cent of people harbour suspicious feelings towards their neighbours and 44 per cent believe that they do not share the same values.

Over half the people polled - 59 per cent - assumed they had nothing common in with their neighbours and so never socialised with them. At the most, a note may be left with their neighbour to inform them of a noisy house party.

The study, called Next Door Strangers, found that 70 per cent of people did not know their neighbours' names and would not even know their faces if they passed them in the street.

The old ideals of looking out for your neighbours seem to have vanished since 35 per cent of people do not feel any kind of responsibility for the safety of their neighbours - even though it would make their own homes safer.

If there was a suspicious-looking individual hanging around a neighbours' home, one in four people admitted they would not take any action.

And it seems gone are the days of leaving your neighbour in charge of your home while you go on holiday.

However, friends met online through social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter are believed to be far more trustworthy, despite never having met face-to-face.

The Neighbourhood Watch believe that there is still hope for a trusting neighbourhood community in the UK.

Roy Rudham, chairman of the UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust, said: "People are still getting to know their neighbours, still looking out for their neighbours and looking after their neighbours' houses when they go on holiday.

"If you live on a long street, there will always be people you don't know but that doesn't mean there's no sense of community any more."

Are you friends with your neighbours? Do you think we should make an effort to build communities in our local areas rather than relying on virtual friends we may never meet? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.