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Cup of tea and a chat hailed as key to fostering neighbourhood spirit

The Government has been urged to follow the examples of the United States and Australia by creating an official national Good Neighbours Day.

The UK may be facing the “slow death of our neighbourhoods”, a former Downing Street adviser warned as he launched a campaign to encourage people to have a cup of tea and a chat with people in their area.

The “share a cuppa” pledge is being launched by social network Nextdoor, Neighbourhood Watch and social cohesion charity The Challenge.

Max Chambers, who worked as an aide to David Cameron, warned that the internet meant people were globally connected but “losing touch with those immediately around us”.

People enjoying a cuppa (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The organisations called on the Government to follow the examples of the United States and Australia by creating an official national Good Neighbours Day in 2018.

Mr Chambers, who left Downing Street to help launch the neighbourhood-level social network Nextdoor in the UK, said: “While we are ever more connected globally through the internet, we are losing touch with those immediately around us, and it was clear to us in government that the warning lights are flashing when it comes to social cohesion, isolation and feelings of belonging.”

He said research commissioned by Nextdoor “reveals the UK is in danger of sleepwalking towards the slow death of our neighbourhoods”.

Dame Louise Casey (John Stillwell/PA)

Dame Louise Casey, who wrote a report on social integration for the Government in 2016, said: “The recent tragic events this country has suffered, from terrorist attacks to the Grenfell Tower disaster, have shown just how powerful the public can be when we pull together, united in the common good to protect and care for each other.

“We have been trying to fix the issues of community cohesion and social capital for a long time.

“Government and public services will always have a role in this but it is the public, residents and families, first and foremost who are in the best position to knit that social fabric together.”


From Belfast Telegraph