By Emma Elsworthy

Britain’s sense of community spirit is in DECLINE, according to new research.

More than half of Brits barely say a word to their neighbours — and 68 per cent describe them as “STRANGERS”.

Two thirds admit days can pass without them even seeing others living on the same street, while 73 per cent don’t even know what their names are.

Half of adults say they do not feel part of a “good neighbourly community” and nine in ten admit they NEVER volunteer to help out with local charities and groups.

Only one in ten would assist with a local tidy up, 12 per cent would help with a charity event and a mere FOUR per cent of folk would organise a fundraiser or attend a fun run.

Worryingly, four in ten people feel no sense of pride about where they live, and 84 per cent fail to participate in any local events.

Roy Prenton, from Skipton Building Society, which carried out the study via, said: “It’s a shock and disappointment to discover that Britain’s community spirit – for so long a national feature which bonded people together – was in decline.

“Wouldn’t it be great to try and turn this around and help rebuild our communities to bring them alive again?

“That’s the aim of Skipton’s Grassroots Giving community funding scheme, which has given away £405,000 over the past six years to help 810 community groups across the UK to achieve their dreams. Many of these groups do not receive any external funding and all rely on volunteers.

“We know there are a large number of groups looking to make their neighbourhoods a better more friendly and inclusive place to live. So we are once again supporting them by offering another £82,500 in donations this year.”

The study found 51 per cent of adults have no idea what the children next door are called, while 55 per cent don’t know what profession their neighbours work in.

Two thirds couldn’t even hazard a guess at the ages of those living in the next house, while three quarters wouldn’t know what hobbies and interests they have or whether they have extended family.

Only seven per cent of those polled would regularly socialise with their neighbours by way of dinner dates and barbeques.

And less than one in ten would consider organising and getting involved in a street party to get to know everyone better.

In fact, a fifth admit the only reason they interact with the neighbours is when they want them to do a favour such as watering the plants or feeding the cat.

And the same percentage claims just because they live next door to someone, does not mean they have to be friends with them.

In addition to the adversity to getting to know the neighbours, only half of respondents support local businesses by shopping with them and just 18 per cent would bother attending rage days, carnivals and fetes.

Roy Prenton added: “Here at Skipton we firmly believe we should be fostering community spirit and that is why many of our 87 UK high street branches will be inviting the general public to special Grassroots Giving picnic days in June where local people can get together, enjoy refreshments and, more importantly, sit and chat to each other.

“It’s a fact that loneliness is terrible epidemic in the UK and by inviting people to join our branch colleagues for a picnic we hope in some small way to help bring our communities together.

“It’s also appropriate that Skipton’s picnics will take place around the UK’s National Picnic Week which is being held from 15 June.”





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