As the UK welcomes in a new year, a survey from The National Lottery Community Fund reveals that community spirit in Scotland remains strong despite the uncertainty and challenges of the pandemic:
- Three quarters of Scots (75%) say they feel part of their local community with three in five feeling a strong sense of community spirit where they live (61%)
- Over half of Scots (52%) say that reducing loneliness and isolation is top of the agenda for the wellbeing of their local community in the coming year. People caring and looking out for each other (48%) and support for mental health (44%) are also seen as important for the year ahead
- Community priorities: people want their local area to look nice (63%), young people to have places to go and things to do (59%) and people to be safe on the streets (58%)
- Young people aged 18 to 24 (66%) are the most likely to volunteer, or help out, in their community this year the survey suggests. 74% say its important to feel part of their local community.
- The research highlights what's important to people and their local communities and reflects many of the areas where National Lottery funding has and can continue to make a difference.
After another year which thrust community spirit into the spotlight, research out today from The National Lottery Community Fund shows that three quarters of Scots (75%) feel part of their community with three in five (61%) continuing feeling a strong sense of pride and community spirit.
The Community Research Index survey of 1099 adults in Scotland (8,000 adults across the UK) asks how people are feeling about their community and their ambitions for their local area for the year ahead. This in turn helps The National Lottery Community Fund to respond as the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
In Scotland, reducing loneliness and isolation (52%), people caring for each other (48%) and providing services for mental health (44%) are all seen as important for their community's wellbeing this year.
When it comes to the physical environment and assets their community needs, six in ten (63%) say keeping their area looking nice is important followed by young people having places to go and things to do (59%) and safety on the streets (58%).
Meanwhile when asked if they intend to help out or volunteer in their local community this year, young people aged 18 to 24 were most inclined to do so (66% of young people compared to 35% of people 55+).
This could be a positive consequence of a difficult year, which saw younger people staying closer to their community due to COVID restrictions, making them feel more connected.
Reflecting on the results, Neil Ritch, Scotland Director for The National Lottery Community Fund, said: Despite the challenges and hardships of the last two years, these findings remind us all of the power of community and how it can make us feel as though we are part of something greater than ourselves. It's important for wellbeing, and better enables people to connect and thrive.
At The National Lottery Community Fund, we are privileged to witness the amazing work that community projects are delivering day in day out. Important issues highlighted by this survey, such as tackling loneliness and isolation, mental health and improving people's places and spaces are areas where National Lottery funding can make a real difference.
Blondel Cluff CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: I am committed, as UK Chair, to ensuring our Lottery funding is making a deep and meaningful contribution to the life outcomes of the people we serve.
As we enter 2022, a year with significant opportunities to celebrate the community networks that bring us together, this research, alongside our wider insight and intelligence will help us to make the right choices, working alongside and with communities as we respond at scale to unprecedented challenges for the country.
In 2021, thanks to National Lottery players, 39 million was awarded to 1,126 groups like the Inchgarth Community Centre in Aberdeen which is helping to improve health and wellbeing amongst people of all ages.
Paul O' Connor MBE, Chairman & Manager Inchgarth, said: "Our National Lottery funding has made a colossal difference to our centre and wider community, on many levels. We have managed to sustain vital services during the toughest of times, but equally we have created a tremendous range of new services and groups that have improved mental and physical wellbeing.
"Volunteering and attendance amongst those hardest to reach have increased, services sustained, and above all a sense of hope and opportunity has been harnessed with the year ahead seeing our centre back to pre-COVID levels of service. Without the National Lottery funding we would not have been able to see through these challenging times or provide the level of vital services that we currently have planned for 2022."
Meanwhile the LEAP project in South Lanarkshire has just welcomed a 199,950 award to reduce the loneliness and isolation of older people.
Georgie Madden, LEAP's Business Development Manager, said: National Lottery funding has been vital in helping us maintain services throughout the COVID pandemic. Our telephone befriending service played a key part in tackling loneliness and isolation throughout the past 21 months, and people have told us they did not know what they would have done without it.
Our recent survey also showed that clients thought befriending made them feel less isolated, less anxious and improved their mental wellbeing.
The National Lottery Community Fund will use the latest findings from the Community Research Index, alongside wider data and insight sources from communities and funded groups, to inform how best to continue to support the communities across the UK.
National Lottery players raise over 30 million each week for good causes across the UK. During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost 1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.
Notes to Editors
Research conducted on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund by Savanta ComRes between 7th and 22nd September, 2021, amongst 8,059 UK adults, with 1,099 respondents in Scotland weighted to be representative of Scottish adults by gender, age, social grade, ethnicity, and region.
About The National Lottery Community Fund
We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK - we support people and communities to prosper and thrive.
We're proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.
Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people's lives. We support projects focused on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach NET Zero by 2050.
Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We're privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
National Lottery players raise over 30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, 43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects - 255 projects per postcode area.