Scotland top and English regions bottom for winter community spirit.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Scotland top and English regions bottom for winter community spirit.

Elderly people living in Scotland are more than twice as likely to be offered bad weather help by neighbours than the UK average.

An independent survey of 11,760 people conducted by Populus for Saga, the lifestyle, financial services and travel organisation for over-50s, found that 22% were offered help during the December ice and snows by neighbours - compared to the nationwide average of 10%.

But only 4% of older people in the West Midlands said they’d been offered help, with the North West and East Anglia faring little better at 5%. London and the South West were on 7%, Wales 8%, Northern Ireland 9%, the South East 11%, the East Midlands 12%, the North East 14%, Yorkshire and Humber 16%.

The news comes as Saga launches its search for the best good neighbours in winter-battered Britain.

The survey also found that a quarter of over-75 respondents received help during the recent snowy and icy weather from their family (24%) and/or neighbours (25%). Community spirit was greatest in Scotland where 22% of all respondents (compared to 10% nationally) were helped by their neighbours. Only 1% of Saga panellists needed help - but didn’t receive any. Four out of five (80%) respondents weren’t offered help but felt that they really didn’t need any.

Icy pavements which prevent people from going out were the biggest problem for survey respondents (35%) when it is very snowy and icy; this is particularly true for the older respondent. The greatest concern for almost one in five Saga panellists (19%) is just keeping warm, given how high the heating bills are. Nevertheless, for those respondents who have not yet retired, the biggest problem is getting to work (47%).

Saga is launching a “Good Neighbour Roll of Honour” to demonstrate the positive effects the bad weather can have and how it is truly becoming a word for today as neighbours pull together in times of hardship.

“You don’t have to dive into a freezing river or try and stop a sliding vehicle to be considered a hero by your older neighbours”, said Emma Soames, Editor-at-Large of Saga Magazine.

“Saga wants to celebrate the good neighbours who are truly making a difference to the lives of older people this winter.

“It doesn’t take much; just offering to go out for groceries or providing a lift to get to appointments or a helping hand so they can go on with their normal lives is so important at this time of year and can make a massive difference to physical and mental wellbeing – for both the helped and the helper.

“We are asking people who are benefiting from the kindness of a good neighbour to let Saga know who they are and we will add their names to our Good Neighbours roll of honour which will be published on the Saga website.

“We only need to know their name - or indeed just their first or nickname and the town or location you and they live in. And then we'd like a short sentence on how they are making a difference in your area while the weather is making life tricky for us all.”

Nominations can be emailed to, or posted to: Press Team, Saga Building, Enbrook Park, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE

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For further information please do not hesitate to contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.

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