Strong neighbourhood social networks can have a significant impact on our quality of life and well-being as they provide something which is vital for all of us – a sense of belonging.
There is significant scientific evidence showing the positive benefits that come when we connect with people locally. These can include reducing the risk of depression, lowering the risk of heart disease and increasing how long we live.
Our well-being increases when we talk regularly with our neighbours. Neighbourhood networks help us avoid becoming isolated and provide a source of support – for example, looking after our house when we’re away or helping with informal childcare.
Our local communities also provide us with opportunities to do things for others – to give as well as receive support – which has also been shown scientifically to increase well-being.
Our happiness influences the people we know and the people they know.
Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend’s spouse) increases it by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%.