What is community and how to do build one? Community can mean different things to different people. It can mean a group of people within a geographic location, or it can mean a group of people with common interests. Whichever way you look at it, more and more it seems that we’re losing that sense of community connection.
Even me, though I have good contact with a few neighbours, my attempts at building a greater sense of community with the neighbourhood have failed. My planter boxes on the nature strip have mostly become an extension of my own home garden with only one neighbour taking the odd vegetable every now and then. That one neighbour did also leave me a lovely Christmas gift and card, which was super sweet.
But not one to give up on a challenge, I decided to host a ‘Neighbour Day’ afternoon tea and involve my children. As I have some elderly neighbours, I thought it would be a good opportunity for my children to meet some of the older folk, and for my neighbours to meet some new people. You never know when they may need some help and it would be good for them to know that someone’s looking out for them should they need help.
There is a lot of talk about disconnection. In an age where we are more connected than ever through electronic means, the face-to-face connection is sometimes lacking. The reasons for this are varied. Time is usually the main one. I for example have three children, but have some time to think about these things and chat to neighbours when I bump into them because I work part-time.
This sense of connection and talking to neighbours and getting to know them is what I want to instil in my children, which is why I wanted to get them as involved as I could in the Neighbour Day event.
My daughter designed a fun invite which she delivered with her brother to some neighbours. The results were a little mixed, we did manage to get a few RSVP’s, but we weren’t overwhelmed with the response.
We decided to make an afternoon of it anyway. Together we put together a lovely afternoon tea with a few neighbours also contributing. The result was neighbours meeting for the first time and a great afternoon spent between neighbouring children. We talked travel and possums (we all share the possum problem J) and favourite recipes.
This is something that I’ll definitely try again!
If you want to get involved in your local area, contact your local Council. They usually have a lot of information on local community groups, volunteer opportunities and local events.
Otherwise, host a BBQ or afternoon tea. The Neighbour Day website has some suggestions too: http://www.neighbourday.org/ they have lots of information, kits and even recipes to share.