New report examines how kinder communities can be encouraged

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The Carnegie UK Trust has worked with seven organisations to study kindness in Scotland

26th July 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A new report has been unveiled which examines how kinder communities can be encouraged.

The Carnegie UK Trust worked with seven organisations from across Scotland – including the Glenavon Tenants Association in Maryhill and Alloa’s Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up programme – to create The Place of Kindness: Combating loneliness and building stronger communities.

The study found that kindness can be hard to talk about for those in the community, and that there can be barriers to acting in a friendly, generous and considerate way.

Zoe Ferguson, the report’s author and a Carnegie Associate who has 20 years of experience in Scottish public policy, said people are often reluctant to be kind because they fear getting involved in difficult situations.

“In general, we tend to perceive greater risk in engaging with people than we did in previous generations,” she said.  

“People manage that sense of risk by formalising the way they make relationships, like becoming a befriender through a charity, for example, rather than visiting elderly neighbours. 

“However, we found that people miss informal relationships and a sense of community. With isolation and loneliness as growing problems in society we believe we need to find ways to overcome the sense of risk in building relationships.

“The solution to isolation and loneliness does not lie solely in providing services, though they might be required for those in crisis. We need to move away from the idea that providing community is someone else’s job. The answer lies in the humanity of individuals.”

On the back of the report, individuals, charities, and businesses are being asked to take action to create welcoming places, provide opportunities for people to come together, remove barriers to kindness and to question the values which underpin what kind of society we want to live in.