Box with tag saying 'If you could give anything to your community, what would it be?'. In the background, someone is writing and you can see the text 'Pick up litter!' visible.

Why community is important

Have you ever thought about whether you enjoy your community? What part you play in it? Your influence and your impact?

We live in a digital age where we can connect with friends, family and colleagues all over the world in a heartbeat. But what do we know about the people who live right next door to us, or across the street?

And what effect does knowing our neighbours have on us as individuals, on how we feel about where we live, and on society as a whole?

Group of neighbours outside in a garden

What are connected communities?

Being part of a connected community means knowing who you live next to; saying hello, smiling, waving and stopping for a chat from time to time. It could mean borrowing a cup of sugar, or children playing in each others’ back yards, or inviting people on your street to watch the football at your place. Ultimately, connected communities are residents who look out for each other. Though there’s a bit more to it than just having someone feed the cat while you’re away.

We hear stories about neighbours looking after each other in times of great need. In this wonderful tribute, Emma from Cardiff shares how her street came together for the first time with a Big Lunch. In the years that followed, their community came together to support each other through some very difficult times. Read this lovely story of neighbourly support.

Connected communities are good for everyone

The relationships we have where we live and work have a major impact on our health and happiness — people actually live longer if they have more frequent social contact.

It’s not just health that improves as a result. Having lunch with your neighbours doesn’t sound like the obvious way to tackle crime, reduce loneliness and isolation or quell community tensions, but the people who take part in The Big Lunch tell us:

  • they feel less isolated
  • they feel safer where they live
  • that people from different backgrounds come together and become friends
  • that the experience leads people to do more in their communities

We know that connected communities can tackle challenges better when they face them together, and that neighbourliness delivers substantial economic benefits to UK society, representing an annual saving of £23.8 billion in total.

We believe in the power of people

We support the doers, the mucker inners, the DIYers who make good things happen and take action, no matter how little that action may be, because small steps make a big difference.

Everyone starts somewhere. We’ve got everything you need to create and support a community.

Support your community

Two ladies sit outside with cups of tea and share a joke. One of them is in her twenties, the other is in her seventies.

Our work for communities matters 

When we don’t feel connected to those around us, our health and happiness suffers.

We know that when neighbours share time, resources and friendship, the benefits reach us all*. Despite this, the connections and support we once enjoyed are at risk of being lost.

But there are simple solutions. Through our work with brilliant, ordinary people, we help communities to make positive changes where they live.

As a charity, we rely on funding to keep our annual programme of courses, events, and The Big Lunch free and accessible to all.

A gift from you, no matter how small, helps us support the amazing people transforming their communities across the UK.

Donate now

*Closing the Distance Between Us Report