Residents urged to make friends with their neighbours in The Big Lunch (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Residents urged to make friends with their neighbours in The Big Lunch
People in Bradford have been urged to become more neighbourly after a study revealed thousands of people across West Yorkshire do not know who lives next door to them.
And they have been invited to take part in The Big Lunch on Sunday, June 2 – a one-day get-together encouraging neighbours to share a few hours of food, friendship and fun – after a survey of 3,000 people across the county found 88 per cent of residents do not consider their neighbours as friends.
The research by The Big Lunch, an idea by the Eden Project and funded by The Big Lottery Fund, also discovered 24 per cent of people do not know their neighbours by name, with 26 per cent claiming they are too busy to introduce themselves.
However, the study also revealed that people in West Yorkshire had the most neighbourly intentions in the North with 83 per cent of residents claiming they would like more community spirit in their area, with half saying it would make their neighbourhood feel safer.
A further 35 per cent said they would like to get to know their neighbours better.
Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Big Lunch, said: “There was a time when everyone was very friendly with the people living next door.
“But as time has gone on, this seems to be becoming rarer, and it’s a shame to see that there are many people who haven’t got the time to get to know their neighbours. We’re keen to change this and were delighted when 8.5 million Brits took part in successful Big Lunches in their communities last June.
“If you get to know your neighbours, not only does it create a happier, safer environment to live in, but you will probably find they are happy to help you out with your pets or water your plants when you go on holiday.
“You never know, you might even end up with a new best friend, simply from knocking on your neighbour’s door to say hello.”
Behavioural expert Judi James said: “It’s staggering that almost a quarter of the people don’t know their neighbours, especially when we live in an era of crowded isolation, where we are often communicating with people via e-mail and text, at the same time as suffering feelings of loneliness.
“There’s no need to feel you’re taking a huge plunge when you start to get to know your neighbours. It’s the ice-breaker effect that is needed to convert strangers into possible friends or acquaintances.
“We need a good reason for knocking on the door and The Big Lunch is just that, the perfect ice-breaker that gets everyone involved in a positive experience.”
For more information about The Big Lunch visit thebiglunch.com.
“People always ask me if Friendly Street is friendly,” said Elli Luha, who has lived on Thornton’s aptly-titled road for 15 years.
“It’s true. It’s a very small community, but it’s very friendly.”
The small cobbled street, off Thornton Road, only has a handful of residents, but they span generations – from young men to pensioners.
Elli, 54, said: “We all look after each other.
It’s not a case of twitching curtains, but everyone watches over everyone else.
“We put each other’s bins out. If it’s snowing, people help clear the road – it’s great.
“We all know each other and it’s good from a safety point of view for peace of mind. Friendly Street is definitely friendly!”
Her neighbour Stan Bateman, 64, who has lived in his home for 12 years, agreed.
“There are only a few houses and we are all different age groups – young lads, pensioners and middle-aged.
“We always say hello when we see each other in the street. I don’t know everyone by name, but I think it’s good to know your neighbours.”