York named as Britain’s friendliest city

We're a friendly bunch… A get-together of York people involved in the Blood + Chocolate community production. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
18 Nov 2016 @ 7.01 pm
| News

Stop chinwagging with your neighbour for a moment, we’ve some good news to share.

York has just been named the city with the best community spirit in Britain.

We topped the table after a rigorous, nationwide friendliness poll.

Dr Stephanie Alice Baker, sociology lecturer at City University in London, devised a 15-step questionnaire assessing social and civic attachments, participation and engagement.

Her team asked questions like ‘Does your local pub landlord know your name and your usual order?’ to ‘Would you feel safe leaving your house key with someone in your local neighbourhood?’

Good neighbours

Volunteers taking part in the Breath Of Fresh Air project in York
Volunteers taking part in the Breath Of Fresh Air project in York

And the results were clear. York communities are the friendliest: 42% of us have a neighbour we could call for help if we lost a key, compared to 32% in Wolverhampton, which was bottom of the table.

A quarter of Yorkies engage in social activities in our neighbourhood (25%) or check in and offer help to vulnerable neighbours (26%), compared to 16% and 13% respectively in Wolverhampton.

One in four (25%) of us have invited a neighbour to our home for a meal in the last year, compared to just one in 10 (10%) in Wolverhampton.

Top 10 cities by community spirit

1. York
2. Hull
3. Belfast
4. Derby
5. Plymouth
6. Wrexham
7. Newcastle
8. Swansea
9. Cardiff
10. Glasgow

Opening doors

The survey was commissioned by Bisto, the gravy people, to launch Bisto Open Door Sunday, a project encouraging residents to invite their neighbours over for a Sunday meal to get to know each other.

Despite York’s impressive example, more than a quarter of the people surveyed felt community spirit has declined in the last five years.

Dr Baker said: “Trust and friendship is generated by repeated, meaningful social interactions.

“To increase community spirit, we can start by taking the time to get to know those around us and engaging with them on a regular basis by simply saying hello or sharing a meal together.”