Covid-19 and the UK lockdown has strengthened communities, with almost half (47%) of UK adults admitting to feeling more strongly about supporting their local community now than they did at the start of the year. This is according to new research from retirement village provider, Audley Villages.
As a result of this year’s crisis, people have been coming together in their local area to support one another and keep spirits up. Nearly two thirds (64%) of Brits said that community spirit in their local area improved as a result of Covid-19. While two in five (42%) are seeing this increase in community spirit lasting over the long term, 22% disagree and think that while it improved at the start of the first lockdown, it has gone again.
Thinking about how their community has changed, almost a third (32%) say that somewhere in their community became a ‘hub’ during the pandemic. 8% cite this as their grocer or supermarket, while 6% say it’s been the pub, and equally, 6% say the pharmacy.
While some areas thrived as the centre of the community, others have been less fortunate. Three fifths (60%) say amenities within their community have closed as a result of the pandemic. As a result, 59% admit that this has had a negative impact on the feeling of community in their local area. The North East has been most affected by amenities closing with 70% seeing a negative impact.
With an upsurge in feeling towards local communities, it’s perhaps unsurprising that recent research from Visa also found that shopping locally is incredibly important to people in the UK. Over half (54%) said it’s important because they know how much their custom means, while 43% say they get a boost of happiness when they support local shopkeepers. Shopping at local businesses has also been shown to potentially double the amount of money that stays in the community.
Paul Morgan, Managing Director, Operations at Audley Villages said: “It’s safe to say that the pandemic has touched all of our lives this year, so it’s encouraging to see people coming together and keeping spirits up in their local community. While so many of us have been locked down at home, it’s the people we see every day in our local area who can have the greatest effect on our day-to-day happiness and well-being. Having a strong sense of community can make a big impact on people’s lives, especially if they’re not able to see loved ones. During Christmas time, looking out for neighbours and friends will make all the difference. Let’s hope that the upsurge in community spirit is a long-lasting change, even when life does return to normal.”