Scots do not feel part of their communities


The Red Cross has produced a study which shows many adults have little links with their local community

3rd January 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Almost half of adults in Scotland don’t feel like they are part of their local community.

A poll by the Red Cross has shown that 48% of Scots said they do not believe they are well connected within their local area.

The charity polled more than 4,000 UK adults and found that 54% of people in Scotland said they had become much less involved with their community over time, with 34% saying there aren’t people they know well in their local community.

The findings add to the charity’s growing body of research on the extent of social isolation and loneliness across the UK, as it calls on people to volunteer as a way to reconnect with their local area.

The survey also found two thirds of people in Scotland are not actively involved in their local community while 43% say their neighbours are like strangers to them.

Despite this, 57% of people polled in the area said they would like to feel more connected with their local community, with many not knowing how to go about it.

The Red Cross is calling on people to join the movement and volunteer, as a way to re-connect with their community, meet new people, and gain new skills.

From supporting in a local charity shop, fundraising at an event, or being there for someone in crisis – everyone has something to give.

When Wilma Lowe decided to volunteer at her local Red Cross shop a year ago, she was trying to get her life back on track. She was still getting over the loss of her husband a few years earlier and hadn’t been enjoying the best of health herself. She realised it was time to change things.

Now the 69-year-old is a happy and valued member of the team at her local charity shop in Dunfermline, Fife.

She said: “Volunteering has changed my life so much. I don’t think of it as work – it’s like a hobby – and I’ve made so many friends in the Red Cross and among the regular customers who come in.

“Sometimes, people just pop in for a chat because they’re lonely and it’s lovely to be able to make them feel better and bring a smile to their faces.

“I always tell people how great volunteering with the Red Cross is and to give it a shot. Sometimes people think they don’t have the time but it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. I love volunteering at the shop. It’s the best thing I could have done.”

Chris Reed, director of volunteer mobilisation at the British Red Cross, said: “Social isolation and loneliness are serious and widespread issues. The findings of this research show why we must do more to help people stay in touch with their communities and build support networks in their local area.

“By volunteering with the Red Cross you can make a real difference in your community whilst meeting new people and learning new skills. Whatever your experience, and no matter how much time you have to give, we can all play a part in building kinder, more connected communities.”