We’re living in divisive times – but North East residents say their sense of community spirit is alive and well and helping rebuild fractured neighbourhoods. The region features in a new Community Spirit Index, with 59% of people saying they know and trust their neighbours.
The report, released to launch Community Business Weekend (16-19 May), highlights towns and cities where neighbourhood working is strongest and reveals that despite a polarised political landscape, at a local level the majority of us know and trust the people in our community.
In the North East community run-events and businesses are driving positive change and providing vital support. One in three (33%) of respondents said working with others on local events is an important way to bring people together, while another 45% recognise events in the area that have helped to create a sense of unity.
A further 47% think their community is good at pulling together in times of need. This again exceeds the national average where only 44% of people feel their community unites at times of unrest.
And that sense of community spirit is growing. According to the Index, 49% of people in the North East want to learn more about how to help their community, 43% want to become involved in a community business and 65% are keen to support community business owners and leaders.
A well as volunteering, consumers are using positive spending to support their neighbourhoods. With the Community Spirit Index revealing that 53% of people prefer to shop in a business whose profits are invested in the community if they can.
In the North East, community businesses include The Annexe, a refurbished local Community & Resource Centre run by the Wharton Trust in the Dyke House area. Throughout its 21-year history, The Annexe has supporting people in the local community with the aim of reducing the effects of unemployment and poverty in the area.
Next week Power to Change launches its annual Community Business Weekend (16 to 19 May inclusive). The annual open doors event will see community businesses across England showcasing their work and inviting people to take a closer look at what they do and how they might get involved.
Speaking about the Community Spirit Index and the Community Business Weekend, Power to Change Chief Executive, Vidhya Alakeson says:
“At this time of huge uncertainty it’s fantastic to hear that community spirit is still alive and well. People are more determined than ever to pull together for the common good. We know from our work on the ground how important that connection is for a successful community business, and how much those businesses improve the lives of communities.
“Community Business Weekend is a great opportunity for people to reconnect with their local community and to learn more about the amazing work of the 8,000 community businesses across the country that are working to transform their local area.”
How did the North East fair overall in The Community Spirit Index?
|North East||National Average|
|I know and trust my neighbours||59%||57%|
|I believe community events bring people together||33%||34%|
|My community pulls together in times of need||47%||44%|
|I want to learn more about my local community||49%||40%|
|I want to become involved in a community business||43%||29%|
|I want to support business owners and leaders making an impact in my community||65%||61%|
Find out what’s happening all over the country for Community Business Weekend 16-19 May on www.communitybusinessweekend.org