Good neighbours save brits billions every year

19 November 2020

  • Brits are saving almost £6 billion each year thanks to neighbourly support
  • Seven in ten (71%) say that good neighbours have a positive impact on mental health
  • Halifax has teamed up Alison Hammond to reveal the benefits of being close to your community

From borrowing a lawnmower to picking up the shopping and looking after our pets, the benefits of having a good relationship with neighbours add up financially.

These seemingly small acts of kindness have saved Brits £165 this year – with a whopping £5.8 billion of annual savings across the country on average each year. The highest savings come from neighbours looking after kids (£313 per year), helping out with cleaning (£276) and pet-sitting (£248).

With three-quarters (72%) of Brits prioritising a strong community when buying a home, new research from Halifax reveals the breadth of benefits that can come from a friendly face next door – from saving money, to supporting our wellbeing and mental health.

A poll of over 4,000 people found that the most common deeds that we do on our doorsteps that save money include picking up groceries (12%), watering plants (10%) and looking after pets (8%). On average, Brits who are getting neighbourly help receive ten hours support a month, with this increasing to 12 hours since the start of the pandemic.

More than half (52%) say that their neighbours have taken in parcels for them and more than a quarter (27%) get help with taking their bins out.

A friendly face next door boosts wellbeing

The power of a strong community goes beyond more pennies in our pockets, with nearly three quarters of Brits (71%) feeling a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing from living in a strong and supportive community.

Millions of Brits are closer to the people they live near than ever before, with one in four (25%) improving their relationship with neighbours since the pandemic began and only 3% saying their relationship has worsened.

A third (32%) would have found it harder to cope during the pandemic without their neighbours, rising to two-fifths (38%) of those aged 18-34, the highest of any age group. Chatting over the garden fence (26%), clapping for carers (24%) and discussing the ongoing situation (20%) were the things that brought neighbours closest together around the country.

Two fifths (40%) say that their neighbours were an important part of keeping up morale during the pandemic and a quarter of Brits (25%) agree that talking to a neighbour has been beneficial to their mental health.

Four in ten (38%) say a neighbour or member of their local community has made them feel less lonely during the pandemic.

Almost three-fifths (58%) now consider their neighbours to be friends, improving by 13% since the start of the pandemic. This number rose the most among 18-34-year-olds, with a quarter (25%) making new friends in the local community. Previously, a third (32%) of Brits were unable to name their neighbour next door. Now, 80% are on first-name terms and nearly half (48%) would miss their neighbours if they moved home.

Alison Hammond, campaign ambassador and TV personality, said: “As someone who moved home during lockdown, I’m familiar with the variety of emotions that come with settling into a new community. At first I was nervous about meeting my new neighbours as my old neighbours had been like family to me, but we soon got chatting over the garden fence and it was only a matter of time until we became great friends!

“The Community Counts report from Halifax is a brilliant reminder of all the wonderful acts of kindness that bring local people together, from the little things like taking a parcel in or putting the bins out, to knocking on the door to check you’re okay. I’m a big believer in the power of community and as this research shows, we all benefit from a friendly face next door.”

The future neighbourhood and a more socially-conscious community

The importance of community continues to shine through as millions of Brits face uncertainty. More than two-fifths (42%) believe having a strong community around them is more important now than before the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds (65%) intend to make an effort to support their neighbours and local community once the pandemic is over.

Over a third (35%) will now call on their neighbours in a crisis, where they may not have done before, and 63% of Brits feel reassured that their neighbours will be there for them in future.

“Choosing where we live is not just about the bricks and mortar, it’s about creating a home and building memories with the people that live around us. 

As we continue to face challenges as a result of the pandemic, people’s neighbourhoods are more important than ever and there are real benefits to being closer to those we live closest to. We want to recognise the resilience of communities across the nation and spotlight those acts of kindness that have meant so much to so many.”

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax

This research forms part of the Community Counts report, an in-depth look at the benefits of having strong relationships with those we live closest to.