Credit crunch 'has made us better neighbours'

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Financial pressures have helped strengthen a sense of community, according to research from children's charity Rays of Sunshine.

According to the findings, Britain is showing signs of a post-war atmosphere as people are strengthening bonds with their neighbours by learning the names of pets and looking after spare keys.

The number of people who know the names of their neighbours has increased by almost a third since last year and one in ten knows how the people next door like their tea or coffee.

Even Londoners are going against their anonymous reputation with 83 per cent saying they know something about their neighbours.

Tim Shaw, chief executive officer of Rays of Sunshine, said: "We know that people tend to band together and support each other in difficult times.

"It is encouraging to see that communities are doing this in response to the tough economic climate."

However, homeowners have been warned against revealing their security measures to neighbours and friends.

Insurer esure has advised people to keep the location of safes secret and to store expensive jewellery and large sums of cash in rented safety deposit boxes.

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