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Reinvigorated community spirit and better relationships with neighbours has left people feeling safer

28th October 2020

A report released today by The National Lottery indicates that over the past eight months almost half of adults in the UK (49%) feel, notwithstanding the hardship of the pandemic, a positive to emerge is the sense of community spirit.

A report[1] released today by The National Lottery indicates that over the past eight months almost half of adults in the UK (49%) feel, notwithstanding the hardship of the pandemic, a positive to emerge is the sense of community spirit. A third of people (34%) said they know their neighbours better than before and four-fifths of those (80%) actually felt safer because of it.

Whilst 2020 is challenging communities and individuals like never before, the insight from over 6,000 adults showed that it might be making us more caring, with half of us (51%) now placing a greater value on compassionate behaviour than before.

The impact coronavirus is having on society also seems to be leading to a change in attitudes towards those people who directly help and support the health and wellbeing of others. Over half of people (58%) feel they now appreciate community workers more than before the pandemic and almost three quarters (73%) feeling the same about essential workers such as nurses, ambulance drivers and members of the fire service.

This increased appreciation for people who help others in their community has led to a greater desire from the public to honour them. So much so, that eight times as many people would rather buy a drink for a local project worker, like someone who works with local vulnerable people, than an A-list celebrity. Ten times as many people would rather hear about stories of kindness in their local community than stories about show-biz celebrities and more than 3 in 4 people (78%) believe it is more important to have award ceremonies this year that celebrate everyday people that helped people in their community than award ceremonies for music or movie stars such as the Grammys or Oscars.

With such changing attitudes in mind, The National Lottery is today launching a campaign in dedication to previously unheralded individuals who have responded to the challenges of the pandemic to make other people’s lives a bit more bearable, comfortable and enjoyable, just when they needed it most. People who may not feel that their actions and efforts are anything special but have had a positive and profound impact across the arts, community, heritage and sport sectors around the UK, using some of the £30m a week raised by National Lottery players.

Dawn Austwick, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund said: “For 26 years The National Lottery has helped make amazing things happen, but never in such extraordinary times. People and communities have found themselves facing myriad challenges and pressures, but have still found the passion and drive to support each other in so many different ways. This research shows that their incredible work has not gone unnoticed and is in fact recognised, valued and inspiring others more than ever before.”

To launch the campaign, furniture restorer and TV presenter Jay Blades, is unveiling a series of bespoke benches he designed across the UK in dedication to inspirational people who have done amazing work in their local community during the pandemic.

Jay Blades said: “I’ve been really humbled to hear some exceptional stories of people who do so much to protect the vulnerable and care for many of those who live on the edges of our society. We are going through incredibly tough times, and unfortunately no one expects that it will be over soon. But I’ve been inspired to see their work being recognised and to see the new networks we’ve created. We live in a very advanced, digital world, but we seem to have rediscovered what it really means to live side by side with each other again. Those bonds that connect us have really sprung to the surface.”

Sarah-Jane Piper and Michelle Thomson are two of the people across the UK receiving a bespoke community bench for their work with 150 visually impaired people in Basildon, Essex who they supported day in day out during lockdown and continue to do so. Between the two of them, they provide shopping services and doorstep food parcels, prescription deliveries, arranging house repairs and social care interventions as well as all important emotional support through their telephone befriending service.

Sarah-Jane Piper, Project coordinator at Blind and Sight Impaired Society (BASIS) said: “Many visually impaired people found themselves in crisis at the start of lockdown, they needed support they could depend on week in week out. We have been running the BASIS befriending service for years but knew during lockdown that we had to adapt in order to support our community further. Our aim was to make those people with visual impairments feel safe during a very scary time and without the funding from The National Lottery we simply wouldn’t have been able to provide this level of service.”

The bench installed at Gloucester Park in Basildon, Essex features built in dog bowls for guide dogs or any other canine companions and is emblazoned with the poignant quote “seeing is not the only way to have vision”. All of the benches include a QR code that will allow visitors to listen to an audio recording of Jay Blades regaling the individuals’ stories, and boast written dedications in braille.

The National Lottery contributes around £30 million to good causes in the UK every week. With the help of this funding, thousands of people and thousands of projects across the UK are supporting their communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These efforts are making a huge difference to people’s wellbeing, particularly those who are more vulnerable and isolated.

To find out more about how The National Lottery is celebrating the work done by unheralded people across the UK, visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

[1]
Society’s Unheralded Champions: A National Lottery Report, October 2020 includes findings from a survey completed by a nationally representative sample of 6,000 adults from across the UK between 2-9 October 2020.

Jay Blades with two guide dogs

Jay Blades said: “I’ve been really humbled to hear some exceptional stories of people who do so much to protect the vulnerable and care for many of those who live on the edges of our society. We are going through incredibly tough times, and unfortunately no one expects that it will be over soon. But I’ve been inspired to see their work being recognised and to see the new networks we’ve created. We live in a very advanced, digital world, but we seem to have rediscovered what it really means to live side by side with each other again. Those bonds that connect us have really sprung to the surface.”

Sarah-Jane Piper and Michelle Thomson are two of the people across the UK receiving a bespoke community bench for their work with 150 visually impaired people in Basildon, Essex who they supported day in day out during lockdown and continue to do so. Between the two of them, they provide shopping services and doorstep food parcels, prescription deliveries, arranging house repairs and social care interventions as well as all important emotional support through their telephone befriending service.

Sarah-Jane Piper, Project coordinator at Blind and Sight Impaired Society (BASIS) said: “Many visually impaired people found themselves in crisis at the start of lockdown, they needed support they could depend on week in week out. We have been running the BASIS befriending service for years but knew during lockdown that we had to adapt in order to support our community further. Our aim was to make those people with visual impairments feel safe during a very scary time and without the funding from The National Lottery we simply wouldn’t have been able to provide this level of service.

”The bench installed at Gloucester Park in Basildon, Essex features built in dog bowls for guide dogs or any other canine companions and is emblazoned with the poignant quote “seeing is not the only way to have vision”. All of the benches include a QR code that will allow visitors to listen to an audio recording of Jay Blades regaling the individuals’ stories, and boast written dedications in braille.

The National Lottery contributes around £30 million to good causes in the UK every week. With the help of this funding, thousands of people and thousands of projects across the UK are supporting their communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These efforts are making a huge difference to people’s wellbeing, particularly those who are more vulnerable and isolated. To find out more about how The National Lottery is celebrating the work done by unheralded people across the UK, visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

[1]Society’s Unheralded Champions: A National Lottery Report, October 2020 includes findings from a survey completed by a nationally representative sample of 6,000 adults from across the UK between 2-9 October 2020.