everybody needs good neighbours

It’s a bit of a thing in London that people don’t know their neighbours very well. In fact, only 32%* of people know their nearest neighbour’s names, and only 19%* would call them friends. 

We think that’s a big shame because research shows that strong neighbourhood networks can have a significant impact on quality of life. Knowing people in your local community reduces isolation and increases a sense of belonging, as well as more practical things like providing reliable informal childcare and security for your house when you’re on holiday. There is also evidence that knowing your neighbours is linked to lower levels of crime, and improved educational achievement and health.

We’ve been knocking about in West London since we started up in 1999 (we launched from a tiny office about 400 yards down the road from where we are now) so W10 has always been our home. It’s changed a lot over the last 18 years, so we thought it would be good to make sure we’re still connected with with our neighbours. We also wanted to change people’s perceptions around connecting with their own neighbours, and make it easier for them to strike up a chat.

So last week we sent out a little pack to all of our closest neighbours. It looked like this:

It encouraged people to drop a note to their own neighbours and pop into Fruit Towers for a smoothie (or two). We’ve already had a lovely man called Lee drop in (he dressed up for the occasion), and we hope more of our neighbours take us up on the offer.

If you’ve got any neighbourly insights to share, or want to find out more about the project, drop us an email at and we'll be sure to help you spread the neighbourly good cheer.

*YouGov, 2013

There are 4 comments about this post Why not add your own?


I think this is a great idea and I hope more people start to get to know their neighbours. I know most people in our road and they are brilliant - most of them! I am friends with our immediate neighbours on one side and know loads of others all by Christian names. I look out for the more elderly amongst us and keep in touch with what is going on locally and I have an email list of people in my surrounding area whom I contact about local issues. That way, when we need to get motivated, we can.

It means you have friends locally to call on if you need help and they can call on you should they need help. It is so nice to know your neighbours, especially if you don't have family close by. Neighbours can become friends and friends become like family, if we just take the time to get to know them. Age isn't a barrier either, open minds to new ideas and people with different views make life much more interested.

We've just moved into a new place and I make it my mission to say hello to any neighbour I see, so fair I've cornered 6 and it seems to make them all smile. Might not be much but it's a start :)

I live in a small community where all 12 houses know and look out for each other. We help each other out when we can and take post in etc. One of our elderly neighbours had a fall last year and we all took it in turns to visit her making sure she was never without a visitor

Yes, we need neighbours but good ones! One side of me - they became friends but moved away sadly. The other side, oh my, a different story altogether. Sadly, they are people I wouldn't want to associate with any way. I've learned my lesson there- not everyone is nice or compassionate and some very much hold a grudge forever! I've got to smile and shake my head because it is quite unbelievable however, given an opportunity just a couple of weeks ago, to chat and try to understand further the hostility, I learned that some people would rather be angry, right and sour no matter what anyone says. Do I want to be friends with people like that? No, but I wave and say morning anyway. If something awful happened I would help but they would not return, they have not returned the sentiment. In the opportunity I mention above, the lady of the house

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