Landscapes of Helping: Kindliness in Neighbourhoods and Communities

Allen, Meg, Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141, Prendergast, Yvonne and Froggett, Lynn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8406-6231 (2015) Landscapes of Helping: Kindliness in Neighbourhoods and Communities. Project Report. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), York.

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Increasing geographical mobility, economic change and the rise of an individualist culture in the UK have contributed to the loosening of close ties in communities. Communities need to evolve, to reconnect, so that people cultivate the ‘background hum’ of sociability that has been associated with neighbourliness. This ‘background hum’ is characterised by people’s awareness of each other, by a respect for each other’s privacy and by a readiness to take action if help is needed. In this research we define kindliness as ‘neighbourliness enacted’ and describe the process of reconnection within communities as the ‘reinvention of sociality’. Hebden Bridge’s relative success in melding traditional and more contemporary forms of sociality helps to identify some broader lessons about fostering kindliness in neighbourhoods and communities.

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