Macra na Feirme is calling on communities nationwide to host a local event this summer to encourage neighbours to get to know each other better.

Macra’s annual Know Your neighbour campaign was launched by broadcaster and campaign ambassador Síle Seoige this week. 

It coincided with the unveiling of research which showed seven in 10 adults feel that children today feel a lesser sense of community than they did growing up in Ireland.

This rises to three quarters (75%) of adults living in urban communities.

Similarly, not being familiar with neighbours is more prevalent in urban communities with almost one in six (14%) saying that they do not know their neighbours at all, versus just one in 20 (5%) of people in rural communities.

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of the campaign in partnership with Calor.

Ms Seoige said: “As a native of the village of Spiddal in Galway, I know how much those living in rural communities can rely on their neighbours and how important a strong sense of community is.

“This summer, I’m delighted to be working on this campaign with Calor and Macra na Feirme, asking people, whether in an urban or rural setting to organise a community event in order for neighbours to get to know one another.”

Most people (41%) say that although they are friendly with their neighbours, they would not socialise with them, however, people in rural communities are far more likely to socialise with their neighbours, with over one in five (21%) saying that they would versus just over one in 10 in urban areas (11%).

Commenting on the research at the launch of the 11th annual campaign, Macra national president Seán Finan said: “Those living in isolated parts of the country with limited access to services rely on their closest neighbours for support, security, and friendship.

“The aim of Know Your Neighbour is to bring everyone together at community events, to get to know these neighbours and establish a strong support network.

“I am encouraging every community, rural or urban, to get involved.”

Urban and rural dwellers have conflicting priorities with ‘peace and quiet’ selected as a positive aspect of living in a rural community according to 75% of people, while 89% of urban dwellers believe that convenience is king.

Proximity to friends and family is important universally with four in 10 rural dwellers (40%) and half of urban dwellers (53%) saying that it is a positive aspect of where they live.

Other priorities for rural dwellers include friendly people (60%), a sense of community (45%), and a feeling of security (34%).

When asked what aspects of rural life frustrated them, top grievances included slower broadband (63%), a lack of amenities (59%), a lack of local infrastructure (48%), and a lack of job opportunities (45%).

Sharon Nolan, marketing manager with Calor, said: “We are delighted to partner with Macra na Feirme in this campaign as it allows us to provide support to the communities in which we operate.”

Any group or individual planning an event should register for an organiser’s pack at www.knowyourneighbour.ie 

The pack will include helpful ideas, posters, T-shirts and balloons.


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