Half of city people don't know their neighbours, reveals Big Lunch survey
Thousands of people in Plymouth don't know their neighbours and are too busy to introduce themselves, a study has revealed.
Research carried out among 3,000 adults by The Big Lunch – the Lottery-funded initiative backed by the Eden Project – found that half of those surveyed in Plymouth don't know their neighbours, with almost one in four having no idea what their names are.
Key reasons holding people back from knocking next door include a lack of time and worries about getting on with their neighbours.
However, the study also found that almost two-thirds of Plymothians would like there to be a greater display of community spirit in their area, with 46 per cent of those saying it would make their neighbourhood feel safer while 65 per cent simply want to create a friendlier atmos-phere on their street.
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Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Big Lunch, said: "There was a time when everyone was very friendly with the people living next door.
"But as time has gone on, this seems to be becoming rarer, and it's a shame to see that there are many people in Plymouth who haven't got the time to get to know their neighbours.
"We're keen to change this and were delighted when 8.5 million people across the UK took part in successful Big Lunches in their communities last June.
"If you get to know your neighbours, not only does it create a happier, safer environment to live in, but you will probably find they are happy to help you out with your pets or water your plants when you go on holiday.
"You never know, you might even end up with a new best friend, simply from knocking on your neighbour's door to say hello."
The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project funded by The Big Lottery Fund, encourages neighbours across the UK to come together on one day to share a few hours of food, friendship and fun. Events are taking place across the region on Sunday, June 2.
The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Coun Michael Wright, said: "The Big Lunch is a fantastic idea – getting to know your neighbours is a great way to build a strong community, and what easier way to get the ball rolling?
"To encourage neighbours to lunch together will promote friendships and encourage communities to work together, which can only make our great city even better."
Local Big Lunch organiser Christine Franklin added: "Last year's Big Lunch was really good fun. It was a pleasure to see so many people of all ages come together and spend a couple of hours getting to know one another.
"I'm really glad I took that first step, it's definitely made the whole street much friendlier."
For further information or to request a free pack containing invitations, a planner, posters and other materials to help organise a Big Lunch visit www.thebiglunch.com.