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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be sure to help you spread the neighbourly good cheer.