Almost half of Brits admit to feeling lonely once a week or more since lockdown ended, according to new national research.
The study, conducted by pub company and brewer Greene King, revealed how community ties have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a national lockdown in 2020
For many towns and villages, the heart of the community is the local pub and encourage people to get together, Greene King offered a free drink including Ice Breaker Pale Ale, to anyone who visited a participating pub with a neighbour on 11th January between 15:00 to 21:00.
When it comes to forging connections with neighbours, Clap for carers (27%), sharing food & supplies (26%) and attending community events such as street parties (24%) were the main drivers of community spirit during lockdown.
However, this didn’t last long, with the research revealing that almost a quarter (22%) are no longer taking part in these community events, and a further 21% no longer feel the need to support their neighbours.
On average, Brits claim to know just four of their neighbours on a first name basis, and what’s more, one in five (19%) young people aged 18–24-year-old have never actually met their neighbours at all – a stark contrast to the older generation of 55-64’s, of which only 1% said the same.
When it comes to why we don’t know our neighbours, over half of respondents (54%) say it’s because they enjoy their privacy, nearly a third (29%) don’t want to invade their neighbours’ privacy and a quarter (25%) feel shy or nervous about doing so.
Overall, this means a fifth of Brits (17%) say that a strong sense of community spirit is lacking where they live.
Andrew Gallagher, Marketing Director at Greene King Local Pubs said: “We wanted to start the new year by helping locals to rekindle the feeling of togetherness which has been lost since the pandemic was at its height.
“Local pubs sit at the heart of the community, and we know many people are having a tough time at the minute, which is why we want to bring people together, to enjoy a drink on us.”
Having only recently started to recover from the effects of the pandemic, local communities are now being hit by worries over the cost-of-living crisis.
In fact, half of Brits (51%) say the cost-of-living crisis has had a significant effect on their local community, and 38% believe there is now an increased need for food banks in their area.
When it comes to financial support, locals are keen for more community focused events, with 44% of people calling for more free events in pubs, and 38% are keen to build a better support network with neighbours.