Neighbourliness waning as pandemic fatigue sets in – survey


Neighbourliness has waned as pandemic fatigue sets in, a survey suggests.

Data from Co-op Insurance Neighbourhood Watch shows the proportion of adults who know which of their neighbours are vulnerable to coronavirus has plummeted since the first national lockdown.

It has fallen from almost three-quarters, in spring, who knew which of their neighbours were classed as high risk, to 26% in September, the poll of 2,005 UK adults found.

And a fifth said they had checked in on neighbours living alone to help combat loneliness, down from 31% in April.

Ellis German, home insurance executive at Co-op Insurance, said: “Our latest research into neighbourliness shows the UK’s neighbourly spirit has, worryingly, plateaued over the course of the year. The length of time of the pandemic, the personal impact on everyday lives and the shorter days and colder weather are all key reasons for why we’re seeing this.

“We’re heading into a time when millions of people are facing into a winter of loneliness and isolation, and with further tiered restrictions in place for neighbourhoods across the UK, we’re urging people to look out for each other.”

The research was conducted as part of Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch’s Neighbour of the Year Awards.

Shaun Blagdon, from Hull, was crowned Co-op Neighbour of the Year 2020 following his pandemic response during lockdown.

Mr Blagdon, 49, rallied his neighbours to form a 400-strong network of volunteers helping support people who were vulnerable or shielding, which became part of the City of Hull’s official pandemic response.

He said: “It’s such an honour to have won this award – 2020 has been such a strange year for everyone and it’s been a pleasure to spread a little bit of joy to my neighbours.

“I really believe that being a good neighbour is about looking out for each other, and I hope I’ve encouraged people to actively get out and support their community – even virtually.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, added: “With the Co-op, we really urge everyone to be as supportive of each other as possible and be truly vigilant. It will be a very challenging Christmas for so many of us.”