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A new Neighbour Day bank holiday

Posted by Alex Smith on 19th May 2020

75 years after VE Day, the images that still stir are of huge celebratory street parties – gatherings in communities in every corner of the country that demonstrated solidarity and togetherness.

In the post-war years that followed, government made a remarkable commitment to extending that social contract with the creation of the welfare state and NHS – institutions that made real the notion that we're all in this together.

This VE Day, because of coronavirus, we weren't able to get together in person to mark the contribution of those men and women three generations ago. But we can do our ancestors a new honour – by creating a permanent Friday bank holiday that makes space for community parties and agency once again: an annual Neighbour Day.

A Neighbour Day could be part of a wider government package to help lock in the community spirit that's emerged during our 20th century crisis. As we plan for a new world, it would be a statement of intent and reality: we really do need each other.

And it would help soften a quirk of British equanimity that has taken root over recent decades: that while 72% of adults think knowing their neighbours is important, 73% do not know their neighbours themselves.

Recent times have shown the power of government levers to shift behaviours. Now is the time to make our new social contract and repay our other national debt – to one another.

The campaign for a Neighbour Day bank holiday has featured in:

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