Young Farmers Club President, Rathfriland woman Roberta Simmons, has welcomed the Calor Gas 2016 ‘Know your Neighbour’ Campaign.
County Down Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster which includes Annaclone and Magherally, Hillsborough, as well as Rathfriland helped launch the campaign which revealed that 71 per cent of adults feel the sense of community is declining.
Research also revealed not being familiar with neighbours is more prevalent in urban communities with almost one in six (14%) saying that they do not know their neighbours at all, versus just one in 20 (5%) of people in rural communities.
Most people (41%) say that although they are friendly with their neighbours, they would not socialise with them, however, people in rural communities are far more likely to socialise with their neighbours with over one in five (21%) saying that they would versus just over one in 10 in urban areas (11%).
The YFCU President, said: “As a native of Rathfriland, I know how much those living in rural communities can rely on their neighbours and how important a strong sense of community is.
“This summer, I’m delighted to be working on this campaign with Calor, asking our members, whether in an urban or rural setting to organise a community event in order for neighbours to get to know one another.
“The aim of ‘Know Your Neighbour’ is to bring everyone together at community events, to get to know these neighbours and establish a strong support network. I am encouraging every community, rural or urban, to get involved.”
Speaking at the launch, Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “Being a good neighbour and having good neighbours, is very important to all of us at various stages throughout our lives, but it’s especially important for those living in more isolated rural areas.
“We all appreciate the connection of friendships so this scheme is the perfect reminder to offer some support or friendship to those living close to us. In Northern Ireland our reputation for friendliness is world renowned so I would encourage everyone to take part in this campaign.”