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The best way to settle into a new community? Keep it simple!

 “Hello” is the key to community cohesion, new research reveals.

On the eve of ‘World Kindness Day’ (13 November), a study has revealed that it takes new residents, on average, eight months to feel part of a new community, and a simple neighbourly “hello” is the best way to break down barriers.


The report, on behalf of Making Local Woods Work – a woodland social enterprise partnership funded through the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund – found that taking a parcel in for a neighbour (38%), volunteering for a local community project (19%) and inviting next door round for dinner (17%) are some of the other ways that new neighbours can feel settled.

Feeling comfortable in a new area is clearly at the forefront of most Brits’ minds as three quarters of those surveyed (75%) felt they’d made an effort to integrate into their local community.

Being busy is a community barrier


The research also identified that hectic lifestyles are the biggest barrier (41%) to getting to know the local community, while the most common signs you have been accepted as a newcomer include bumping into someone you know every time you go out (41%) or getting a Christmas card from a neighbour (32%).


In addition:


  • Four out of ten people (40%) think it takes up to six months to settle into a new community

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) agreed that community engagement was an important function of society

  • Over a third of people (37%) wish they knew their neighbours better


“It’s the simplest things that can make the difference between someone settling into a new community quickly or not. Just saying “hello” or taking a parcel in for a neighbour can be all it takes,” said Norman Dandy, Woodlands Project Manager, from Making Local Woods Work.


“It’s good to see that almost two thirds of people see community engagement as important - that is exactly what our woodland social enterprises do, helping communities to gel. With one fifth of Brits (20%) agreeing that volunteering for a local community project can help people settle locally, there’s never been a better time to hunt out a woodland social enterprise project and spend time with people that are in your community.”



1.         Bump into someone you know every time you go out 41%

2=        Getting a Christmas card from your neighbours 32%

2=        You call the nearest pub ‘my local’ 32%

4.         You’re on first name terms with more than 20 people in the area 28%

5.         You’re familiar with the local countryside/woodlands 26%

6.         Your kids have joined local school 25%

7.         When people in the area confide in you 20%

8=        When your neighbour gives you a key to their house while they’re away 19%

8=        Your kids get invited to someone’s house for tea 19%

8=        When your neighbours put your bins out for you 19%

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