Northern Ireland people ‘friendliest in UK’ - survey

Community spirit is alive and well across the UK, according to a new survey for The National Lottery Good Causes ahead of the Diamond Jubilee.

The Queen has said she hopes that her Diamond Jubilee will bring people together in a spirit of neighbourliness and celebrate the voluntary service given by millions. The survey reveals that many of us are already good neighbours:

People in Northern Ireland are the friendliest with the ratio of residents claiming to frequently smile and say hello to people in the street more than double that in London or the south east (46% Northern Ireland, 23% south east, 20% London).

65 % of adults in Northern Ireland have run an errand or done a chore for someone outside of their immediate family in the last month. (UK avg, 55%)

One in five adults in London and Scotland (20%) do voluntary work at least once a week to help a good cause – the highest rate in the UK.

National Lottery players have raised over £28 billion since the Lottery started in 1994, funding 380,000 Good Causes across the UK and over £870 million of that funding has helped 17,000 Good Cause projects in Northern Ireland.

One such good cause, making the most of National Lottery funding and our now official friendly credentials, is Crossroads Caring for Carers (NI) which provides carers with a much-needed break whilst providing peace of mind that their loved one is well taken care of by a Crossroads care attendant.

Chief Executive Christine Best is delighted with the survey results, “It comes as no surprise that Northern Ireland folk are the friendliest in the UK. We rely heavily on volunteers to enable carers to take a break, knowing their loved ones are being looked after by a friendly face. Crossroads recently launched a new project called ‘In Your Prime’ funded by the Big Lottery Fund which uses volunteers who are trained to help with transport to shops and hospital appointments, a regular telephone call and of course, friendship visits. Our volunteers are of a mix of ages but we also benefit greatly from those who are retired or ex-carers and can particularly befriend older people who are dealing with issues such as poor health or the loss of a loved one or loneliness. Friendliness does come naturally to us in Northern Ireland and we’d be delighted here at Crossroads to welcome more volunteers to give a small amount of time to share that gift.”

Commenting on the findings, Peter Wanless, Chairman of The National Lottery Forum, said: “This survey shows that community spirit is strong with most people going out of their way to help others. The National Lottery brings people together by funding community groups, local arts and sports clubs. Millions will make new friends at celebrations at Lottery-funded parks, community centres and BIG Jubilee Lunches over the long weekend. National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for Good Causes. They should be proud that this money is changing so many lives in their local community.”

For more information go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk or to become a volunteer for Crossroads, click www.crossroadscare.co.uk