Taking a parcel in for a neighbour, inviting next door round for dinner and having a pint in the local pub are among the best ways to settle into a new community, according to a study.
Researchers also found simply saying hello, having a cup of tea with the neighbours and getting a dog are sure-fire ways to get to know your locals.
The study also identified the signs you’ve been accepted into a community, including bumping into someone you know every time you go out and receiving a Christmas card from a neighbour.
Amid this four in ten said it takes up to six months to settle into a new community.
The research of 2,000 adults was commissioned by Making Local Woods Work, a woodland social enterprise partnership, to mark World Kindness Day which takes place tomorrow (13 November).
Norman Dandy of Making Local Woods Work said: “It’s the simplest things that can make the difference between someone settling into a new community quickly or not.
“Just saying “hello” or taking a parcel in for a neighbour can be all it takes.
“With one fifth agreeing that volunteering for a local community project can help people settle locally, there’s never been a better time to hunt out a woodland social enterprise project and spend time with people from your community.”
Volunteering for a local community project, attending the school fete and putting your neighbour’s rubbish out when they’re away are also among the best ways to settle into a neighbourhood.
While having people confide in you and being on first name terms with 20 or more people are other signs you have truly become part of the local community – along with the kids being invited round to a mates for tea.
Two in five said hectic lifestyles are to blame for not getting to know the local community better.
Three in ten wish they knew their neighbour better, although three quarters said they have made an effort to integrate into their local community.
Almost two thirds of those polled believe community engagement is an important function of society.
Norman Dandy of Making Local Woods Work, which is funded through the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund, added: “It’s good to see that almost two thirds of people see community engagement as important – that is exactly what our woodland social enterprises do, helping communities to gel.”
To find out more about your nearest woodland project and how you can get involved, visit www.makinglocalwoodswork.org.
TOP 20 – BEST WAYS TO SETTLE IN:
Simply say hello to your neighbours
Visit the local pub
Take in a parcel for your neighbour
Make an effort to talk to everyone on the street
Invite neighbours round for a cup of tea
Volunteer for a local community project
Invite your neighbour round for dinner or a BBQ
Offer to watch a neighbour’s house while away
Attend the local school fete
Put your neighbour’s rubbish out
Get a dog
Compliment people on their car/garden
Attend all community events
Take a bottle wine round to your neighbours when you move in
Water your neighbour’s plants when they away
Spend lots of time in the front garden and chat to everyone who walks by
Offer to look after the neighbour’s cat
Join a fitness class e.g spinning, yoga, Pilates
Get involved with the local church e.g ringing church bells
Attend council meetings
TOP 20 – SIGNS YOU’VE SETTLED IN:
Bump into someone you know every time you go out
Getting a Christmas card from your neighbours
You call the nearest pub ‘my local’
You’re on first name terms with more than 20 people in the area
You’re familiar with the local countryside/woodlands
Your kids have joined local school
When people in the area confide in you
When your neighbour gives you a key to their house while they’re away
Your kids get invited to someone’s house for tea
When your neighbours puts your bins out for you
Always someone you know in the local pub
You know your postman by name
You know the owners of local shops by name
You have a library card
When you know friends of friends
When people in the area go out of their way to cheer you up
You regularly visit the local woodland
When you get asked to look after a pet
You join in on the neighbourhood gossip
You get invited out all the time