press release

Just say hello

Just say hello - Greeting people in your street is key to community spirit

Image of a man and woman in a bakery at the till talking to the cashier

175 years ago, Britain was gripped by true poverty. Not just the kind where taxing the car and buying some new curtains would see you slip into the red but one where generations of one family could be found existing in damp, unheated cellars or attics.

  • LV= research into what creates a strong community spirit has found more than a third (35%)* of Brits don’t feel part of their local neighbourhood.
  • People saying a simple ‘hello’ to each other tops the list of things that would make Brits feel part of their community.
  • Renfrewshire in Scotland identified as the area of the UK where the public enjoys the best community spirit, with 80% saying they feel part of their community.

Community spirit is widely perceived to be a British institution – from joining together in street parties to supporting local charities. However, new research from leading financial mutual LV=, has found that more than a third of Brits (35%)* sadly don’t feel part of their community.

The answer to achieving a stronger society may be simple though, as the insurer found that a third of the public (33%)* think a simple ‘hello’ from a neighbour would improve community spirit in their local area.

What’s more, local businesses are a driving force behind community spirit. Shopkeepers are the top chatter boxes, with more than half (54%) of people saying they speak with them regularly, while postal workers come a close second with 51%.

Regionally, residents in Renfrewshire in Scotland are the most likely to feel part of their community with 80% saying they feel this way, while it’s bad news for Londoners with residents in the capital the least likely to feel part of the community with just 41% saying so.

Meanwhile, the public identify dog poo (29%), littering (27%) and people staring at smartphones (23%) as causing more harm to community spirit than high crime rates (19%) and poor local services like transport and police (15%).

Following the research, LV= is calling for the UK public to boost community spirit in their area by taking some simple steps to create a sense of unity. 

Sam Preece, Head of Brand Marketing at LV= said; “Community spirit differs from area to area, but one thing that is constant is people’s desire for others to speak to or at the very least acknowledge them. LV= is encouraging members of the public to reach out to those around them and help build community spirit in their neighbourhoods. We aim to help customers feel more confident and confidence starts at home. If people are happier in their neighbourhoods, this will carry through to other aspects of their daily lives.”

Top 10 things that damage community spirit: 

  1. People not picking up dog poo
  2. Littering
  3. People staring at smart phones
  4. Closure of local business
  5. High crime rates
  6. Lack of activities for young people
  7. Lack of places to socialise
  8. Poor local services like transport
  9. Lack of local jobs
  10. Too many new houses being built

Top 10 things that improve community spirit:

  1. People saying hello to each other
  2. People picking up their dog’s poo
  3. Less littering
  4. More activities for young people
  5. More places to socialise
  6. Lower crime rates
  7. Better local services
  8. More local jobs
  9. A good pub
  10. More support for local businesses


Notes to editors: 

* LV= commissioned Censuswide to speak to 2,500 members of the public with at least 100 in each region in the UK between 25th April and 3rd May 2018.

For more information or case studies please contact: 

Chris Fay, [email protected] 0207 010 0839 
Sian Evans [email protected] 0207 010 0831
Vanessa Ellis, [email protected] 0207 010 0876
Kaidee Horton, [email protected] 020 7634 4240 / 07738 274 568

About LV=

LV= serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual. We are currently the UK’s joint number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2016 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings. We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers.

Kaidee Horton
Head of Corporate Communications, General Insurance
07738 274568