Big Lottery Fund
Latest NI research shows community priorities for 2022
New research from The National Lottery Community Fund shows that over three quarters of people in Northern Ireland feel part of their local community and that safety on the streets, improving places and spaces, young people and reducing loneliness are priorities for communities in 2022.
The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest Community Research Index, an annual survey of adults across Northern Ireland, shows a year-on-year increase, despite the challenges, with 77% now feeling a sense of connection to their local community - up from 74% last year.
77% of people in NI feel part of their local community
Significantly, 80% of those aged 18-34 feel part of their community which could be a positive consequence of a difficult year which saw younger people staying closer to their community due to COVID restrictions, making them feel more connected.
The research also reveals that people continue to have a good sense of what their community needs in order to prosper in 2022. When it comes to the physical environment and what their community needs, safety on the streets (62%) and keeping the area looking nice (60%) are important, followed by young people having places to go and things to do (59%).
When considering their community’s wellbeing in the year ahead, reducing loneliness and isolation (57%), support for mental health (51%) and people caring and looking out for each other (50%) were identified as the main priorities.
At a time when the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is under extreme pressure, it is reassuring to learn that just under half (48%) said that they intend to help out or volunteer in your local community over the next year.
This new research builds on The Fund’s recent Impact Report, which showed the amazing difference National Lottery funding makes for people and communities across Northern Ireland and the UK. This includes supporting our grant holders to meet ever changing needs as we moved through the pandemic, mobilising volunteers, improving places and spaces and supporting health and people living with disabilities.
Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, said:
“Despite the challenges and hardships of the last two years, these new findings demonstrate that sense of community holds strong. We are continually inspired by hearing about our grant holders who have stepped up to help people during this time.
“As well as being of wider interest, the data also helps us as a funder to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the people and communities we serve – it is just one of the many ways in which we will continue to ensure our work is evidence-based and grounded in what is wanted, needed and works to help local people.”
National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes across the UK. During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.
Blondel Cluff CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“I am committed, as UK Chair, to ensuring our lottery funding is making a deep and meaningful contribution to the life outcomes of the people we serve.
“As we enter 2022, a year with significant opportunities to celebrate the community networks that bring us together, this research, alongside our wider insight and intelligence will help us to make the right choices, working alongside and with communities as we respond at scale to unprecedented challenges for the country.”
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