Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Your stories of neighbourly love

Photo: John Ellis
John Ellis in Wirral sent us a picture of his community at work.

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.

We asked BBC News website readers if they talk to their neighbours and how they feel in their communities. This is a selection of some of the comments, divided by geographical region.


Knowing one's community is very important in today's society, so many people are isolated. Our community work hard to get people involved across the board. This means getting the young involved they are after all our future community guardians. Long live community involvement in this time of working families and childcare.
John Ellis, Egremont, Wirral

I know my neighbours. On one side there's a delightful family, the other side are a self-absorbed unpleasant couple. This morning, a knock on the door. Delightful bloke, with flat battery. No trouble to get up and dress and go find the jump leads to get him going. Would probably have done same for t'other lot, but not as cheerfully!
Megan, Cheshire

I am 30 years old and have been off with my daughter today. Almost all my neighbours are retired. This morning I drove one of my neighbours to the garage to pick up some jump leads as his car wouldn't start. Then I helped my next door neighbour to tune in his new TV and picked up a packet that was too big for our letterbox from another neighbour. Mature neighbours hail from an era of kindness and respect.
Tom Pepper, Manchester

The new houses deliberately screen you from your neighbours
Andrew Clarkson, Cleethorpes

I lived on a housing estate in a town for five years and didn't know anybody. I moved to a small village two years ago and know everybody! It's a totally different world, with different values and pace of life. The downside is that everybody knows all your business!
Pam, Yorkshire

I previously lived in a street of houses built c. 1930. The fences between the back gardens were one metre tall, and you could see and speak easily to your neighbours. 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. The street with the lower fences had a real community spirit. The two metre fences make it more difficult, and make it too easy to shut yourself off from the rest of the neighbourhood.
Andrew Clarkson, Cleethorpes

Being 19 myself, I feel the main issue that people my age have with getting to know the neighbours isn't an anti-social one. Personally, after the vast amounts of bad press our age group receives for crime, we get an overwhelming feeling that neighbours, older neighbours, are either afraid of us or simply do not want to know us.
Conor Dalgarno, York

We know all our neighbours; we have social get-togethers, parties, dinners, etc. We go out together, help one another out and keep an eye out for one another. We are all ages from toddlers to pensioners. This is England in 2009! Life in London as portrayed in the media could be on another planet as far as we are concerned.
David Kemp, Carlisle

The three children of our neighbours on one side have wandered in and out of our house like it's their own for at least 10 years - they know that if the door is unlocked, they are welcome. The other side are good neighbours too. And there's probably six or seven families in our street who will gravitate into each-other's gardens on fine evenings for a glass of wine and would be there if they were needed. I realise we are lucky.
Jill Ross, Leeds

I remember a few years back when I was temping during the summer between years at University, there was another temp who worked in the same office. We got talking and it eventually turned out that she lived in the house directly opposite mine, and had done for six years! We'd never met before.
Oliver Adams, Godalming


I live in a housing co-op in London. We have about 120 people living on our street and, by and large, we all know each other. We are all free to visit each other's houses and every night people from different houses on the street will be socialising with their neighbours. I may add, this is the rule, not the exception! We all consider ourselves to be very lucky to live where we do. We have a beautiful garden, ponds and huge bike shed made from railway sleepers. All made by us!
Stephen Ashworth, London

We are all free to visit each other's houses and every night people from different houses on the street will be socialising with their neighbours
Stephen Ashworth, London

I grew up in Newcastle-under-Lyme, everyone was friendly and would say hi to one another. I then moved to Manchester, again, very friendly and I would chat to my neighbours. I then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you couldn't walk past someone in the street without them saying 'Hi, how's it going?' Then, I moved to London and live in a posh gated community. No one speaks to one another and they even ignore you if you say hi. I find London rude and anti-social.
Chris Madeley, London

When I lived in a tower block for eight years I "knew" most of my neighbours because there was no escaping them. I've now lived in a house for 13 years and know the names of very few neighbours, just know them to greet if I see them in the street. But my next-door neighbours on one side have been absolutely wonderful neighbours, best I could ever have wished for, and I am sad that in two weeks' time they will be leaving for economic reasons. Great friends; we will be keeping in contact with them.
Alan, London

A lot of people in London and big cities don't know their neighbours and that is true, but not always. I live in a smaller part of east London, and I'm lucky to say that in a road with 70 homes, I probably know 25 of the neighbours. We regularly spend time with each other. Sometimes, it's not as bad as the media make out, there are pockets of community out there.
Scott Wilding, Wanstead


I moved back to the street I grew up in about five years ago and have known many of the neighbours since I was a child. I'm 48 now. However, I lived in the same street in Essex for 17 years and only knew three people. The rest would not have given you the time of day and there was no real community. Some of them used to get on the same tube to work as me and they hid behind their papers without so much as a good morning. I would never move back down South.
Linda, Kirkcaldy

Here on Rockall Island I have no neighbours- technically the nearest is about 200 miles away. Still I can't moan at least if I choose to have a party they're unlikely to complain.
James T Haddock, Rockall Island


Do you know your neighbours? I do, and my neighbours from six houses do also in our horseshoe close. We are all getting on in age, 12 of us plus myself making up 13 people have a meal out on special occasions that may be for any one of us. We are a great little community and that is good. We always put the world right with our chats, laughs, or even help each other by keeping a check on each other's homes whilst on holidays... what more do we need?
Norman Bailey, Barry

When I lived in London I made the point of interacting with my neighbours. My fingers got burnt as a result, so now I have sheep for my neighbours and that suits me just right. In many ways the sheep do remind me of them.
Shaida Van Helfteren, Corwen


Our nearest neighbour is 500 metres away
Roger Tedman, Nimes, France

We live in a building in Frankfurt, Germany, where there are only three apartments. The other tenants are two single ladies and we are a married couple with two cats. We know each other well and look out for each other, accept parcels when our neighbours are out, we know that our cats will be well looked after if we go away for a few days and we make the effort to sit down and have coffee and cakes several times a year. We also help each other out in case of illness, hospital stays, visits, etc.
Ellie Richter, Hamburg, Germany

When we lived in the UK we never ever saw or knew our neighbours as either they or we worked too hard. We moved to a posh outer suburb of Paris last year where our British friends expected us to live like recluses due to the famous "difficult" character of wealthy "Parisiens". Imagine our surprise then to find our wealthy neighbours regularly inviting us round for drinks, the street summer party, the Christmas parties, the offers of babysitting and all forms of help from all sides. Such a contrast.
David Whiteman, Paris, France

I live in the French countryside, and our nearest neighbour is 500 metres away. And they are Swiss and come here only during the holiday times. Apart from that we know everyone in the village and surrounds, my wife more than me, as I am out at work so don't get to meet them so much. We have village fetes, and gatherings where everyone talks to everyone else.
Roger Tedman, Nimes, France

We live in a country village of rural Flanders, we all know each other by name and there is a real solidarity in case of need, nobody cares what you do as long as you respect the others. My neighbours are my surrogate family and have done more for me than my own family ever did. On numerous occasions we received help and support without asking for it and I know my child is safe when she's playing in the street because people care and look out for each other. I would not want to live anywhere else.
Pav Olsa, Brussels, Belgium


I know of some of my neighbours. I would not consider that I "know" my neighbours at all. I may see them, recognize them, and even chat with them, but we do not really "know" one another. That was another era.
Rick McDaniel, Lewisville, Texas

When I was growing up, I knew all my neighbours - we looked out for each other. Times change, people change, neighbourhoods change... where I live now, the only reason I know my neighbour is because she is also my tenant. From the other people on my block you get a "good morning" or a wave but that's it, really. I guess it would help if the majority of them spoke English, but it is a nice and quiet neighbourhood so I can't complain. I sometimes miss the 'good ol' days' though.
Karen Jules-Louis, NYC


For a good relationship with neighbours, mutual goodwill is required, but unfortunately this cannot happen in some cases due to a variety of reasons. But still, one who shows better hospitality and compassion than his neighbour does, regardless of his neighbour's courtesy or indifference, already gains, by becoming a happier person!
Liankhawla, Aizawl

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