The study from the National Lottery Community Fund also reveals more than a third of Scots want to see increased support for voluntary groups
New research has shown the majority of Scots value the work carried out by charities and community groups.
A new study out today (Tuesday 12 January) from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, shows that the pandemic has helped to reignite people’s interest in their local community and sparked a desire to be more involved in 2021.
Three quarters of people in Scotland (73%) feel like they are part of their local community, with over a third acknowledging that Covid-19 has increased their sense of belonging (37%) and also made it more important for them to feel part of it (33%). The survey of 590 adults in Scotland (7,000 adults across the UK) is nationally and politically representative and asks how people are feeling about their community and their ambitions for their local area for the year ahead.
And 2020 also appears to have opened people’s eyes to the great work being done by many within their communities with a majority in Scotland (69%) saying that local community groups and projects, volunteers and charities deserve more recognition. And when thinking of what they most want for their local community in 2021, over a third (39%) want to see support for community projects and charities.
After a year which thrust community spirit into the spotlight, a quarter (29%) say that they plan to get more involved in their local community in 2021. But as well as enjoying a greater appreciation of their local community, people also have a firm sense of the challenges their community faces and what will be important in their local area this year.
In Scotland, reducing loneliness and isolation (51%), supporting mental health (45%) helping the local economy (52%), and helping people to live healthily and well (44%) are all seen as important for their community’s wellbeing this year.
Other 2021 priorities are providing young people with places to go and activities to do (55%), having access to natural green spaces (53%), keeping the area looking nice (56%) and community activities that bring people together (43%) – all of which could potentially help with another concern for communities, which is safety on the streets (58%).
Interestingly, many of the changes people in Scotland most want to see for their community in the year ahead are behavioural. These include people caring and looking out or each other (57%), a focus on supporting each other and good neighbourliness (47%), and parents spending quality time with their children (46%).
Neil Ritch, Scotland director for The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Last year so many communities across Scotland demonstrated the amazing things people can do to support each other during challenging times. This research shows the power of that collective endeavour and the profound impact on how we feel about the areas we live in and the people around us - making more of us appreciate our community and want to get involved.
“At The National Lottery Community Fund, we believe that local communities know what they need and the research highlights some of the thousands of projects that people value as part of everyday life – these are exactly the kind of projects that regularly benefit from funding made possible thanks to National Lottery players.”
In Glasgow, Spire View Housing Association has always been known for its strong and unwavering community spirit and the pandemic has not changed that outlook. The Royston community’s strength and determination has moved to a whole new level over the last ten months, as they have looked out for each other with food parcels, digital device support, healthy eating and much more.
Fiona Murphy, Spire View Housing Association director, explained: “With lockdown looming in the middle of March, we along with 10 other local organisations and our Councillor Allan Casey, got together to formulate a plan of action. The aim was to ensure that every single resident who required support would receive it. This was the beginning of the Royston Covid Response Group.
“In the end last year, and thanks to National Lottery players, we were able to deliver food and hot meals for 16 weeks. As a community anchor organisation this also helped us understand what those living in an around us needed more of. Across the partnership we then also developed and delivered activity packs, ensured that those who were not already online became digitally connected and worked to support Help 4 Homeless coordinate around Fareshare donations.
“We take great pride in knowing our partnership has made a difference across our community during very difficult times and we have been overwhelmed by the amount of support received from fellow partners, local businesses and volunteers, without them none of this would have been possible.”
National Lottery players raise £30 million a week for good causes and the research findings chime with the thousands of grant requests The National Lottery Community Fund deals with and the conversations its Scottish funding team has with grant holders.
In 2020, thanks to National Lottery players, the fund distributed over £58 million to 1,934 community projects, funding many hundreds of projects bringing people together, tackling loneliness and isolation, supporting young people and benefitting the environment – all things that this research demonstrates are important to people and their communities.
For more information on The National Lottery Community Fund and the funding available to support communities visit the website.