Building Communities

With more single households, sustained working near home and delayed retirement, many seek to make more of their local communities. Finding common interest and activities becomes a priority.

Before Covid-19, there was already an underlying trend towards deeper connections with local communities. The pandemic has accelerated and amplified this significantly. By 2030, with trust in central government expected to be still around half of what it was in the mid-eighties, a priority for many will be their regional and local communities. With more single households, a significant share of the population will be living alone, often renting, and finding themselves increasingly stressed, stretched and lonelier. Many crave connection and interaction and so seek to make more of their neighbourhood social networks. As those who are able choose to work from home or near home, interactions with local retailers, food and beverage outlets, shared workspaces and walkable leisure attractions increase.

Stability is important for many of those who have joined the Armed Forces. As a result, settling into a community and establishing roots is something that many aspire to once they leave. This can take time, because as can be seen by our ethnographic research, it is often difficult for them to find a role that they find suitably rewarding. “It is a huge challenge for people to move from a stable, cared for environment to a more fluid uncertain environment.” Therefore, if society is collectively making more of local communities, it may help those in transition. “Core values are driven into individuals as part of being in the military – they are necessarily part of a military unit. They build a sense of belonging and safety. These are powerful values to take forward into civil society.” Many in our workshops expressed the view that the Future Accommodation Model will help with this. At the same time, we heard concern that the downside of establishing roots in the community would mean that the bonds that tie Service men and women and their families together as a unit would consequently suffer, as “there is limited support behind the wire, but when living in civvy street there is zero support”.

Example Implication: A cultural shift to acknowledge the benefits of establishing community bonds within and outside the Armed Forces will help transitioning personnel and their families to adjust better to life outside the wire during and after Service.






I do worry that we are increasingly thinking that for the military to be accepted by society we need to somehow be more like society in all respects. I question that. In some respects, it does, for example inclusivity and other social attributes, but in other ways, for example personal qualities there is a demand from society to be different, indeed if it is not, then what is the point?

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Thank you for this comment - it's helpful to hear different perspectives and, as we are now writing up the final report for this project, your thoughts will be included


The demographics of the veteran population will also change dramatically over the next ten years. The majority of vets are currently >70. This will not be the case in 2030.


In the North East it is not the community that finds it hard to assimilate / absorb veterans, but the veterans themselves finding it hard to come back.