New research highlights the importance of communities and identifies loneliness as a key issue

13 Jan 2021 11:20 AM

New research out from The National Lottery Community Fund, reveals that the pandemic has helped people see the benefits of being part of their local community and sparked a desire to be more involved in 2021.

Three quarters of people in Northern Ireland (74%) feel like they are part of their local community, with around a third acknowledging that the pandemic has increased their sense of belonging (34%) and also made it more important for them to feel part of it (35%).

The survey of over 600 adults in Northern Ireland was demographically and politically representative and asked how people were feeling about their community and their ambitions for their local area for the year ahead. 7000 people were surveyed in total across the UK for this research.

After a year which thrust community spirit into the spotlight, 30% of people in Northern Ireland say that they plan to get more involved in their local community in 2021. But as well as enjoying a greater appreciation, people also have a firm sense of the challenges faced and what will be important in their local area this year.

Reducing loneliness and isolation (53%), supporting mental health (48%), helping the local economy (48%) and helping people to live healthily and well (39%), are all seen as important.

Interestingly, many of the changes most want to see for their community in the year ahead are behavioural. These include people caring (57%), a focus on supporting each other and good neighbourliness (55%), and parents spending quality time with their children (44%).

A project that has really stepped up to care for those in their local area during this difficult time is DEEDs (Dementia Engaged in Derry & Strabane), which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund to support people with mild to moderate dementia and their families in the Derry/Londonderry and Strabane areas.

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