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A quarter of UK adults ‘haven’t been hugged for a year’

Written by on 27/07/2021

A quarter of UK adults say they haven’t been hugged for a year or more, while more than a third (37%) last hugged someone at least six months ago, a survey has suggested.

More than one in ten (13%) said they have not been asked how their day was, or talked to their neighbours, for at least half a year.

The survey, carried out by the cross-party think tank, Demos, found a third of people (32%) believe there are fewer opportunities to form new bonds now than last year’s first COVID-19 lockdown.

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But just shy of a quarter (23%) of the 1,000 UK adults surveyed in May, said they believed the reopening of society after COVID restrictions offers greater scope to make new friends.

There is, Demos warns, a “huge risk” that the community spirit prompted by the crisis, which saw volunteers, friends and family provide food and support to vulnerable members, will be lost.

Other results found almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said they have not made a new friend for six months, and 44% have not done so in more than a year.

The Social State, based on research sponsored by outsourcing firm Capita, found that the majority of British people want to get to know the people who provide local services (71%) and the community members who use them (64%).

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Polly Mackenzie, report author and chief executive of Demos, said the pandemic showed that strong community ties are “vital to our resilience and strength as a society”.

She said: “Our new research out today worryingly shows that these gains we’ve made in community relationships earlier in the pandemic are in danger of being lost.

“If we’re to build back stronger from the pandemic, we need to reimagine our public services for the 21st century as a way of strengthening our communities, relationships and social capital.”

A government spokeswoman said ministers are “acutely aware” that for many people the issue of loneliness will not simply just go away as restrictions ease.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have invested over £34 million in charities specifically focused on reducing loneliness,” she said.

 Sky News

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