top of page
  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

NI reveals what makes ‘perfect’ community as region tops UK poll of community pride

Caitlin McCartney, Ken Humphrey and Harvey the dog from SOS Bus NI are pictured with Bronagh Luke from SPAR NI, receiving their Community Cashback Grant last year. Applications for the 2024

Caitlin McCartney, Ken Humphrey and Harvey the dog from SOS Bus NI are pictured with Bronagh Luke from SPAR NI, receiving their Community Cashback Grant last year.


A study of over 2,000 adults from across the UK has revealed Northern Ireland as the region with the most community pride.


In the research conducted by SPAR UK as part of their Community Cashback campaign for 2024, the survey showed that 83% of respondents were either very or fairly proud of their local area, followed by London (75%) and Scotland (73%).


The survey also showed that those in Northern Ireland ‘feel like they are a part of their community’ the most, with over two thirds (61%) saying they strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement.


The research also revealed the respondents said the ‘perfect community’ is made up of helpful neighbours (50%) and regular litter pickers (25%), while well-maintained community gardens (31%), a local convenience store (49%) and welcoming shop owners (45%) are important in creating a wholesome environment to live in.


Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group which owns SPAR in Northern Ireland says they’re proud to hear the results of the poll:

“When you think of Northern Ireland, you think of the positive contributions various neighbours are making towards their local communities, and this survey supports that wholeheartedly. We are so privileged to be part of hundreds of communities across Northern Ireland with our stores, and actively contribute and engage with our neighbours.


“The Community Cashback Grant for 2024 will see 20 local community groups and organisations receive £1,000 each to put towards the initiatives that are bringing out the best in their local areas, and those which are making a real difference.”


It is the fifth year of the initiative since SPAR NI launched it in 2020, during the first pandemic lockdowns. It has now been extended across the UK and will see £100,000 worth of grants distributed across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


SPAR NI recently caught up with a recipient of last year’s grant, SOS Bus NI, whose volunteer team help support the most vulnerable across Belfast City Centre, and which put their £5,000 grant into upgrading their first aid bus, ensuring medical equipment and provisions are adequate for all needs.


Caitlin McCartney, Volunteer Co-Ordinator at SOS Bus NI added:

“As a charity, we rely on donations from the public and corporate sponsors, and we were delighted to receive funding from the SPAR NI Community Cashback Grant in 2023, to keep our essential services on the road. It’s generous funding like this that allows us to equip our volunteers with lifesaving defibrillators and radio communication equipment, while also being able to refurbish our SOS vehicles, including our SOS response minibuses to provide a better service on the streets of Belfast.”


Declan McGarry, Team Leader at SOS Bus NI added:

“If you are a charity that does rely on donations and doesn’t get government funding, I would strongly suggest getting involved with the Community Cashback Grant programme. It is incredibly worthwhile and enables us to provide the services we can for our service users, and provide safety on the streets.”


Respondents to the survey also added that the organisations which needed the most help in their communities were foodbanks and community kitchens (38%), community youth clubs and children’s centres (34%) and local medical centres and hospices (32%).


Applications for the SPAR NI Community Cashback Grant close on Wednesday 22nd May 2024. For all information and application details, visit


bottom of page