By Marcus Leach

The financial outlook may be gloomy but according to latest research from Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of Charity Age UK, communities are embracing the Christmas spirit throughout the year in response to economic hardship.

The research revealed that approaching three quarters (71%) of people surveyed had helped their neighbours in the past year, while two thirds (66%) agreed that they are more likely to check on their neighbours during an economic downturn.

The vast majority of respondents (94%) have a good relationship with at least one of their neighbours and 95% say their neighbours are friendly. In addition, over half (52%) said they make a point of regularly checking on their elderly neighbours, while nearly nine in ten (87%) feel comfortable asking their neighbours for help if they are in need.

The survey also found that in the past year a quarter (25%) of respondents have checked on their neighbours’ home while they were away and 21% have kept a spare key for a neighbour.

“This research shows us that people are pulling together in difficult times, and it is particularly encouraging to see that community members are paying special attention to their older neighbours who often live alone," Gordon Morris, Managing Director, Age UK Enterprises, said of the findings.

“We know from experience that many people are keen to hold on to their independence as long as possible even as their health becomes more fragile. It is reassuring to know that there are neighbours close by who look out for them.

"There are also services available which offer added reassurance and help - such as the Age UK Personal Alarm Service. Currently almost 45,000 people across the UK use our Personal Alarm Service which helps them feel at ease at home.”

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