As we head towards the end of a turbulent year, new research has revealed the challenges of 2020 have made Yorkshire residents kinder and more caring to one another, with over a third of those living in the region admitting they have been brought to tears by a random act of kindness.
Inspired by the fundraising efforts of individuals up and down the country, a sense of national comradery and seeing neighbours rally round together, almost 40 percent of those living in the region have felt encouraged to help and support others in some way over the last 12 months.
Over 75 percent of residents have been touched by a heart-warming story in the news since the start of the pandemic, with Captain Sir Thomas Moore raising money for the NHS on his 100th birthday voted ‘the most touching moment of 2020’, according to those living in Yorkshire.
The weekly clap for NHS professionals, seeing key workers reunited with their loved ones, and observing an abundance of rainbow paintings in home windows, were also among the acts of kindness that touched the region. West Brom Albion footballers phoning elderly fans during the first lockdown, Princess Beatrice wearing the Queen’s gown for her socially distanced wedding, and the national teddy bear hunt in windows across the region, were also chosen in the top 20 list.
Despite 2020 being a tough year for many, more than half of Brits believe there have been many positive outcomes from the challenges, according to the research conducted by ZOONO, the scientifically proven longer-lasting hand and surface sanitiser brand.
Valuing our lives more (42 percent), appreciating the little things (41 percent), as well as being more caring and considerate to others (37 percent) are among the list of silver linings voted for by the British public.
Following the global pandemic, almost a quarter of Brits now feel more resilient (23 percent) and are less likely to worry about small problems in their lives (23 percent). Many Brits feel stronger having made it through the challenges they have faced this year (22 percent).
Being reunited with loved ones after lockdown (22 percent), receiving a phone call from someone they hadn’t spoken to in a long time (15 percent) and watching people support small local businesses (15 percent), were among the acts that have personally touched most Brits over the last year.
Jamal McCleary, General Manager at ZOONO, said: “It has been truly heart-warming to see people come closer together this year as so many have strived to protect the wellbeing of loved ones and neighbours.
"We noticed a surge in people buying our scientifically proven hand and surface sanitisers for key workers and vulnerable people as gifts; hundreds of people have gone the extra mile to keep others safe and protected for longer.
"That’s why we were interested to find out whether the pandemic has strengthened our relationships with others, even when we’d had to social distance, and made us all more caring and considerate despite the challenges we have all faced.”
The pandemic has had a positive effect on relationships, with over half of Brits admitting it has encouraged them to develop stronger and closer bonds with friends, neighbours and relatives.
Over a third of Brits (36 percent) feel much closer to their immediate family compared to before the pandemic, while over a third (35 percent) have been surprised by the caring attitude of their children, partner and parents. More than 60 percent feel that lockdown has given them a better understanding of the people they live with, whether that be children, their partner, friends of flatmates.
The periods of lockdown have also had a positive effect on romantic relationships, with almost a quarter of Brits admitting that they have developed a better understanding of their partner during this time. A third of those in a relationship feel their other half is more precious than before, while almost 20 percent have become more caring towards partners.
More than one in ten parents admitted the periods of lockdown have allowed them to form stronger bonds with their children. A third feel their children are more precious, while over 20 percent now have a more caring relationship with their offspring. One in ten grown-up children also said they now have a better understanding of their parents.
Almost a third of Brits have reconnected with a loved one that they hadn’t spoken to in a long time, either because they’d fallen out or lost touch. Realising what’s important in life (39 percent), being concerned for their health and wellbeing (38 percent) and having more time to pick up the phone (35 percent), were the top reasons for reconnecting.
The ongoing crisis has also encouraged better relationships with neighbours. In fact, 43 percent of UK residents agree that they are now closer to their neighbours, while a quarter of people know their neighbours’ names, which they didn’t know before.
The pandemic has also created an army of local heroes. Most Brits (66 percent) have gone shopping for someone who is vulnerable, isolating or a key worker. Care for neighbours has also seen a significant rise, as more than 20 percent of people who would not have offered previously have nipped to the supermarket for a vulnerable person living locally since the start of the year.
As a nation, kindness is more valued than ever before. According to the research, kindness (48 percent), honesty (36 percent) and thoughtfulness (35 percent) are the qualities we most admire in others. Confidence, ambition and intelligence were attributes that less than 10 percent of Brits said they admire most.
The movement for Britain becoming a more kind and caring nation is only set to continue as one in ten people admit they want to be even more caring in 2021. Positive New Years’ Resolutions also include appreciating what they have (26 percent) and spending more time with loved ones (20 percent).
Mr McCleary said: “This year, ZOONO has partnered with the Shelter Charity to help our customers donate during the sales process. We also donate hand sanitiser for the benefit of homeless people living in the UK. Like many residents, we pledge to continue supporting others in the year ahead and look forward to being inspired by many more heart-warming moments yet to come in 2021.”
The Top 10 Most Touching Moments of 2020 (Yorkshire Ranking)
1) Captain Sir Thomas Moore raising money for the NHS on his 100th birthday
2) The first clap for NHS carers
3) Announcement of the Covid-19 vaccine
4) Rainbow paintings in windows
5) Seeing key workers reunited with their loved ones
6) School children sending morale-boosting letters to care home residents
7) Socially distanced Victory in Europe (VE) Day celebrations
8) Hero welcomes for key workers in supermarkets
9) Joe Wicks launching free daily PE lessons for children
10) Postman in fancy dress to keep residents' spirits high