Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Most young do not know neighbours, study suggests

The survey suggested older people were more likely to chat to neighbours

A third of young people do not know the names of their neighbours, while nearly all over-65s do, a survey suggests.

Some 96% of the over-65s among the 2,000 people asked said they knew their neighbours' names, but the figure fell to 66% among those aged under 25.

The study for housing provider Circle Anglia suggests 56% of adults aged above 65 like being with neighbours, compared with 26% of those below 25.

Older people were also more likely to chat to neighbours in the street.

Terry Moralee, 77, has lived in his part of Salhouse, Norfolk, for 10 years and speaks for residents on Wherry Housing Association's Board.

"I feel safer knowing that I have friends living next door that I can call on if I need to," he said.

Neighbours often helped newcomers settle in the area by advising them on things like when to put bins out for collection, Mr Moralee added.

Taking in the post or letting a tradesman in during the day - someone is always around to lend a hand
Nicky Burke, from London

Andrew Clarkson, from Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, contacted the BBC to say he felt modern housing design prevented people from building relationships with neighbours.

Fences at the back of homes built in the 1930s on the street where he used to live allowed people to chat, he said.

"I am now living in a newly-built house and all the fences are two metres tall. The new houses deliberately screen you from your neighbours," he added.

However, Ginia Hickley, of London, suggested most over 65s were retired and had more time to chat, whereas many working people spent much less time at home.

The proportion who said they chatted to their neighbours regularly was 82% among the over-65s, but 44% for the under-25s.

Some 91% of the older people said they trusted neighbours to look after deliveries in their absence, but this proportion fell to 62% among the younger group.

Public relations manager Nicky Burke, 34, said she was always keen to meet neighbours in her flat complex in Bermondsey, south London.

"I moved into my building about four years ago and didn't know anyone in the area so it's been a great way to meet people," she said.

"We have hosted barbeques and Christmas parties. We also tend to use the rooftop terrace on the building for drinks and get-togethers.

"Even if it is things like taking in the post or letting a tradesman in during the day, someone is always around to lend a hand."

Social isolation

Circle Anglia executive director of operations Andy Doylend said: "Older people are far more likely to suffer from social isolation.

"This research not only demonstrates the value people over 65 place on talking to neighbours but also the benefits of this, such as an increased trust in the community, which can make a real difference to people's quality of life."

Some 38% of all those surveyed said a diverse neighbourhood benefited the community, compared with 28% who said it did not.

A higher proportion of young people, 47%, agreed it was beneficial than in the older age group - 34%.

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