Community gardens will help build friendliness says Homebase

A new survey shows only 15 per cent of people know their neighbours well enough to regularly socialise with them - but gardens could help solve the issue.

The survey from Homebase questioned the nation about community life and found that gardens could be the key to friendlier neighbourhoods across Britain’s towns and cities, encouraging more people to talk to one another and helping friendships blossom. 
More than 84 per cent of people surveyed rate a sense of community as important and 66 per cent believe this means being friendly with neighbours.  
Nearly a third (29 per cent) felt that a community garden would help them feel more engaged with their neighbours and 46 per cent said that it would allow them to socialise with more people, get to know their neighbours and build a stronger sense of community.
Homebase marketing director Jo Kenrick said:  "We see plenty of research that shows that people who live in friendly neighbourhoods are happier, but modern life means that often we simply don’t get the opportunity to get to know the people who live close to us. This is especially true in big cities.
"Gardening is something that people of all generations can get involved in at different levels. As our survey shows, community gardens – or even making the most of what’s outside your own back door – are not only wonderful for getting more children interested in gardening but they provide a place for people to meet and give everyone the opportunity to learn valuable gardening skills.
"In this social media age it’s wonderful to know that a traditional pastime such as gardening is having such a beneficial effect on community cohesion.
"Our Urban Retreat Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is all about encouraging communities to come together and create a garden that everyone in the neighbourhood can enjoy."
In the last six years in London alone, 2,000 community food gardens have registered with City Growth, a food-growing network, whilst The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens represents 1,000 community gardens across the UK.   
Jeremy Iles, chief executive of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens said: "Community gardens can unite and enrich people of all ages and from all different cultures. They provide a way to bring communities closer together in a shared space, allowing people to interact through the experience of growing and nurturing plants together or simply enjoying a peaceful piece of nature. 

"It’s something the whole neighbourhood can join in with and it is well-documented that community gardening improves well-being, encourages exercise and helps grow more understanding about the natural world."

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