Keep it local to connect with your neighbours

A new survey by Relationships Australia has found that people who are engaged with local schools and sporting teams and use local facilities feel they have better connection with their neighbours.

The survey on community participation completed by more than 1000 people visiting Relationships Australia websites in April looked at levels of engagement in communities and how often people communicated with their neighbours.

Survey respondents were asked about their interaction with neighbours and whether they regularly went to the park or local playground, regularly shopped at the local store or regularly attended a local community facility (such as playgroup, hobby, or special interest).

Analysis of the survey findings reveal that shopping at a local store had the greatest impact on whether a person is likely to feel they have enough contact with their neighbours.

Talking to the neighbours

More male (31%) than female (24%) respondents said they rarely chat with their neighbours, with around eleven per cent of both men and women responding that they never chat to their neighbours.

Forty-one per cent of female respondents said they occasionally or sometimes chat to their neighbours, compared with thirty-six per cent of male respondents.

About forty-four per cent of both male (21%) and female (23%) respondents said they chat with their neighbours often or very often.

The majority of men (65%) and women (65%) feel that their reported level of communication with neighbours was just about right with around a third of both men (33%) and women (34%) saying their reported amount was too little.

Keeping it local

Survey respondents were asked whether they or their children, if they have any, attend a local school or regularly play sport in a local team.

They were also asked whether they regularly go to the park or local playground, regularly shop at the local store or regularly attend a local community facility (such as playgroup, hobby, or special interest).

Just under half of both male and female respondents did not have children (48%), but for those who did, around one-third (33%) reported that their child does attend a local school.

Also, the majority of respondents (68%) reported that they or their children do not regularly play sport in a local team (see Figure 6), with twenty-nine per cent reporting that they do.

Around half of female respondents (49%) said they regularly go to the local park or playground, compared with fifty-five per cent of male respondents.

The majority of both male (85%) and female (94%) respondents reported they shop at a local store regularly.

Fifty-eight per cent of female respondents said they do not regularly attend a local community facility, compared with around two-thirds (65%) of male respondents.

Slightly more female (39%) than male (33%) respondents reported they do regularly attend a local community facility.

Overall, people who responded ‘no’ to questions about whether they participate in the community were slightly more likely to say the amount they chat with their neighbours is too little, compared with people who do engage with these different domains of community activities and facilities.

You can read the survey here.