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Three quarters of people in Wales feeling part of their local community says new survey.

As we welcome in a new year, new research from The National Lottery Community Fund shows that almost three quarters of people in Wales feel part of their local community, and that safety on the streets, young people and mental health are amongst their priorities for 2022:

  • Over seven in ten (78%) say they feel part of their local community, 74% say it’s important to them.
  • Young people are leading the way – 18 to 34 year olds are more likely to feel connected to their local community, more likely to see this as important and more likely to volunteer or help out in 2022.
  • Community priorities: people want safety on the streets (64%), their local area to look nice (61%) and for young people to have places to go and things to do (58%).
  • When it comes to their community’s wellbeing in the year ahead, reducing loneliness and isolation (50%), people caring and looking out for each other (49%) and support for mental health (41%) are priorities.

The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest Community Research Index shows a year-on-year increase in people feeling part of their local community, with young people leading the way. Despite a challenging year, three quarters (78%) now feel a sense of connection to their local community - up from 71% last year. And feeling part of the community is also growing in value, with 74% saying it is important to them, compared to 66% last year.

The annual survey of over 1,000 adults in Wales is designed to find out how people feel about their communities, which in turn helps The National Lottery Community Fund to respond.

It reveals that people want to be more active in their community this year, with just under half (45%) saying they intend to help out or volunteer in their local community in 2022.

However, the real surge in community involvement comes from 18 to 24 year olds, who are more likely than any other age group to feel part of their local community (79%), more likely to see this as important (76%), and they intend to volunteer (73%). This could be a positive consequence of a difficult year, which saw younger people staying closer to their community due to COVID-19 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 and thrive in 2022. When it comes to the physical environment and assets their community needs, six in ten say safety on the streets (64%) and keeping the area looking nice (61%) are important, followed by young people having places to go and things to do (58%) and access to natural green spaces (52% ).

When thinking of their community’s wellbeing, people in Wales identified reducing loneliness and isolation (50%), people caring and looking out for each other (49%), services for mental health (41% ) and preventing youth violence (41% as local priorities in 2022.

This new research builds on the Fund’s recent Impact Report, which showed the wide range of positive outcomes that National Lottery funding makes for people and communities across the UK. These include improving thousands of places and spaces; building community spirit, local pride and belonging, and mobilising 290,000 volunteers annually.

Importantly, over four in ten (48% Wales) say that activities that bring people together will be important for their community in the year ahead. Thanks to National Lottery players this is an important area of focus for funding, and with 2022 set to be a year of national celebration and pride (#Celebrate2022), including the Queen’s Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games taking place in the UK, there should be a wealth of opportunities for everyone across the UK.

John Rose, Director of The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales, says: “Here at The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales we have seen first-hand how communities in Wales have worked together to support each other over the last two challenging years. The findings from our survey show just how strong the sense of community is and, even more importantly that it is growing in our young people. As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, many of the grants we give out are for communities who want to improve the places where they live, to look after each other’s mental and physical wellbeing and to make sure young people have positive opportunities, reflecting the responses to our survey. We look forward to seeing what communities across Wales want in 2022 and we will be here supporting them with grants to help people to prosper and thrive.”

The National Lottery Community Fund will use the latest findings from the Community Research Index, alongside wider data and insight sources from communities and funded groups, to inform how best to continue to support the communities across the UK.

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.

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