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Two of Essex’s most popular high streets have been named among the chattiest in the UK.

The research was carried out by Metro Bank, as it encouraged more people to greet strangers on the UK’s high streets.

The bank polled people on how greeting strangers influences their mood and how the pandemic has helped everyone stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more: The latest news for Essex

From the 2,000 UK adults polled, the data was compiled into a list ranking the most chatty high streets in the country.

Essex’s Southend High Street ranked 13th, while Chelmsford was a few places behind in 16th.

A third of the people polled in Southend said a simple “hi” from a stranger positively impacted their mood.

And half of those in Southend said the high street had helped them stay better connected throughout the pandemic.



Southend High Street
Southend High Street

A third said they were making more effort to talk to people when visiting Southend high street, while a third also said they thought the high street was more valuable to the community than ever.

The research was part of a campaign launched by Metro Bank earlier this month.

National “Hi Street Day” – which happened on December 4 – encouraged people simply to say “hi” to each other and highlight the important role of the high street in communities across the UK.

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Conversation expert Georgie Nightingall said: “The pandemic may have made our social skills a little rusty, but it also highlighted a shared human need for connection and how important a little chat can be.

“Small talk and chit-chat can massively improve our everyday wellbeing, make us smarter, expand our networks and create a sense of wider belonging.

“Research suggests that we are happier on days when we have more social interactions, be that eye contact, smiling, or a brief chat with the barista, bank teller, or just people out and about.

“Perhaps it’s time we really recognised the value of a simple ‘hi’.”

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