People in the UK say that the pandemic will change their behaviour and lead to a longer-term boost in community spirit

2 Mar 2021 11:23 AM

Survey reveals lessons learnt from a year of lockdowns

New research out today from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, suggests that the pandemic could be a step-change moment for the UK, leading people to make lasting changes to how they live their lives and the connections they build with friends, family and the wider community.

As the UK fast approaches the anniversary of the first lockdown, three quarters of people (77%) say that they will change their behaviour as a result of the pandemic, with an emphasis on enjoying a simpler more pared back life post-COVID. Key changes include enjoying the simple pleasures in life more (40%), spending more time with friends and family (33%) and re-evaluating life priorities (28%).

The findings come from a newly-launched Community Research Index – an annual survey of over 7,000 adults across the UK designed to get a temperature check on how people are feeling about their communities and their key concerns for the year ahead. The Index will be used by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and enhance learnings gleaned from the thousands of projects and groups it funds each year.

Unsurprisingly, the COVID crisis has put a greater emphasis on health, with over a quarter (28%) of respondents saying they intend to be healthier in future. The experiences of the last year have also made people want to be more neighbourly (24%), kinder (21%) and more environmentally friendly (21%).

People are also optimistic that changes in behaviour brought about by the pandemic will be widespread. Almost half (48%) think community spirit will be better in the long-run following the pandemic – just 13% say it will be worse – while many agree that the pandemic will have a positive impact on the amount people care about others (46%) and the environment (40%).

In the last challenging year, being part of a community gave people a reassuring sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ (41%). They could see real benefits to being part of a community, including having people close by to help (35%), a sense of connection with others (34%) and a reduced sense of isolation (32%).

However, the biggest benefit of all was being able to give others support (37%), which confirms that helping others or volunteering brings its own rewards.

The research also delivers a well-deserved vote of confidence for the many thousands of people who stepped up to help their community during the pandemic – just one in ten people (10%) say that they don’t think the work of local community groups and projects has helped and supported people during the pandemic.

Click here for the full press release