Back to October 2020

New friendships with neighbours and rediscovery of communities in lockdown

Eight out of 10 people say they are talking to their neighbours more as a result of the pandemic, according to a survey for Leeds Building Society.

Busy lives often don’t offer the chance for a friendly chat with those living nearby. But over the last few months many people have had more time to speak to their neighbours and lockdown has helped to highlight a new appreciation of their communities.

Of those surveyed, 81% said they are speaking to neighbours more, one in four feel community spirit has improved, 53% said they had been doing more shopping locally and 29% have been helping vulnerable people.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said the health and wellbeing of their families is now a bigger priority.

Outdoor activities like going for walks (52%), gardening (44%) and exercise (27%) have made people feel happy in lockdown – pastimes the overwhelming majority want to continue.

Many predict coronavirus will have a lasting impact on lifestyles.

Of the 23% who say they are working from home more, 43% see this as a permanent change, while 47% of those surveyed think they will continue to use technology to host meetings and stay in touch with loved ones.

Leeds Building Society carried out the survey* as part of its Lockdown Learnings – a national research series exploring how people’s attitudes to their homes, and their behaviour and preferences have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Richard Fearon, Chief Executive Officer of Leeds Building Society said: “Events of recent months have reminded us time and time again how much we all rely on others, and reinforced how mutual support for each other makes a real difference.

“This survey highlights how placing greater value on care for others and building stronger bonds is not just a short-term shift; there’s a real sense people want to see lasting change.

“There’s no doubt this has been a challenging time for everyone but it’s been heartening to see how people have come together to help out others around them who need support.

“As demonstrated by my own colleagues, this positive spirit of collaboration is helping us to navigate these unique times by looking after, and out for, each other.”


Notes to Editors

Comments from some of those who took part in the survey on their neighbours:

“Hardly saw or spoke to any of my neighbours but am now on speaking terms with quite a few of them.”

“I have connected with local residents a lot during lockdown.”

“Appreciate my neighbours more.”

*A UK survey sought the views of 948 people at the end of August 2020.

The Society operates throughout the UK and had assets of £20.5bn at 30 June 2020 (£20.7bn at 30 June 2019). The UK’s fifth-largest mutual has its head office in the centre of Leeds, where it has been based since 1886.

The Society won the title of Best Shared Ownership Mortgage Lender in the 2020 What Mortgage Awards, its fifth consecutive year of success in this category. It also received a Gold Ribbon from Fairer Finance for savings accounts for the third year running, based on customer happiness and trust, along with the ability to explain things clearly.