The Community Support & Life After Lockdown survey was launched in November 2021. It asked questions that aimed to gain an understand of the experiences of social housing residents during the Covid-19 lockdowns and what they believed could change for the better. Over 4,100 social housing residents in the UK took part. Here we break down the key findings from the full report.
The Community Support & Life After Lockdown survey
Once the Resident Voice Index™ had been tested in the Neighbourhoods & Communities report, it was time for the project to turn to more timely questions about the lives of social housing residents.
The prospect of another full-scale lockdown in the UK seemed unlikely at this time. So this survey was an opportunity to capture some of the feelings about that extraordinary collective experience whilst it was still remembered well.
The survey explores three central themes:
- Loneliness – feeling consistently lonely, but not the same as being ‘alone’
- Resilience – the ability to withstand shocks and bounce back
- Optimism – a positive outlook in general or towards individual circumstances
Other questions also explored the sources of support that those who responded received during the lockdowns, their relationship with their housing provider and suggestions for what could positively impact communities.
When looking at loneliness, key findings were:
- In late 2021, those asked were more than twice as likely to be lonely than not lonely (56% vs 26%)
- Before March 2020, 38% of people reported being lonely, which increased to 56% after the lockdowns
- Almost 4 in 10 people reported an increase in their overall ‘loneliness score’ because of the lockdowns
It was to be expected that loneliness would increase over this time period. However, the high levels of loneliness prior to March 2020 reveal that this is an ongoing issue that needs focus and support.
Resilience and optimism
Survey takers were asked a standard question for measuring resilience both before March 2020 and in late 2021. Key findings showed:
- It was reassuring to see that 60% of people were classified as resilient
- It was relieving to find that less than 10% scored in the extreme ‘non-resilient’ categories – and that group only increased by a small amount across the pandemic
- When asked about optimism, nearly 70% of people were unable to commit to being hopeful for the future of their local community
- For those who scored as ‘pessimists’, the top free-text answers they gave asked for immediate ‘help’ or ‘support’
These results suggested that being in need may impact people’s ability to visualise the future positively. However:
- It was found that those who were aware of the actions of their housing provider were twice as likely to be optimistic about the future of their local community
One of the findings that linked back to the first Resident Voice Index™ report was that across all measures, young respondents (under 35s) tended to report more negative experiences. Encouragingly, resilience and optimism increases with age, while loneliness decreases. This could be down to the benefits of greater lived experience.
The survey also asked about the places that people lived. Out of cities, towns, suburbs, villages and rural environments, there was one that stood out: villages. Villagers reported more positively across the majority of questions than respondents living in any other type of place. Recommendations for housing providers and local government in the report suggest further examination of what it is about villages that bolsters a good quality of life.
The full Community Support & Life After Lockdown report is now available here. Make sure you give it a read!