Here are a few ideas for bringing people together and building a strong, friendly community.

In the past, people often chatted to their neighbours over the garden fence, popped round for a cup of sugar, or organised street parties, but with people getting busier, many people feel like there's simply not a community spirit in their street anymore. Most of us are a bit shy about knocking on doors, and you might not even know some of the people living near you, so where do you begin to build a community?

 

Start a neighbourhood watch

Looking out for each other is at the heart of any community, and starting a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area is a great way for people to get to know each other, and to watch out for anything suspicious. Your local police force will be able to tell you whether there's an existing scheme, and if not, they can give you advice on how to get started.

 

Organise community gardening

Community gardening schemes have a long history, and they were especially popular during World War II when they became a source of fresh fruit and vegetables in the inner city areas. They can vary in size, from small plots on communal land, to big projects within schools and public areas, allowing everyone to pitch in, learn about gardening, and make new friends. They can sometimes be tough to get off the ground, as you will need the backing of your local authority to start using abandoned sites, but they really can bring people together throughout the different stages of the project. 

 

Social media

Social media isn't just for sharing baby pictures and ranting about your day, it can also bring communities together by giving them an easy way to communicate. Your street or estate might already have a Facebook page, or you can easily start a new group, and you can make it more lively by inviting the people you already know on the street, getting them to do the same. Facebook groups can be used for all sorts of purposes, from letting neighbours know about road works, to putting things up for sale, and it's an easy way for busy neighbours to keep in touch. However, as with all social media, be careful about sharing personal information.

 

Throw a street party

Street parties have had somewhat of a resurgence lately, thanks to events such as the diamond jubilee and the royal wedding, and it's given the public a taste for old-fashioned, community-centred fun. You don't have to wait for a royal event of course, there are lots of reasons to throw a street party, from bank holidays to national celebrations, so have a think about what might be coming up. You will most likely have to apply for a road closure, and different councils have different rules about noise and other issues. Other than that, street parties should be easy to organise with enough enthusiastic volunteers, and everyone can pitch in with decorating, providing food, and lending their garden furniture. 

 

Start a book group

If you and your neighbours are a bit reserved, something like a book group or coffee morning can bring people together socially, without a lot of organisation or fuss. Put a post on Facebook, or stick posters around the street, asking for members, and have different people host the event each week. You'll soon find some common ground with people, and can enjoy building a social community. In the past, people often chatted to their neighbours over the garden fence, popped round for a cup of sugar, or organised street parties, but with people getting busier, many people feel like there's simply not a community spirit in their street anymore. Most of us are a bit shy about knocking on doors, and you might not even know some of the people living near you, so where do you begin to build a community?

 

Start a neighbourhood watch

Looking out for each other is at the heart of any community, and starting a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area is a great way for people to get to know each other, and to watch out for anything suspicious. Your local police force will be able to tell you whether there's an existing scheme, and if not, they can give you advice on how to get started.

 

Organise community gardening

Community gardening schemes have a long history, and they were especially popular during World War II when they became a source of fresh fruit and vegetables in the inner city areas. They can vary in size, from small plots on communal land, to big projects within schools and public areas, allowing everyone to pitch in, learn about gardening, and make new friends. They can sometimes be tough to get off the ground, as you will need the backing of your local authority to start using abandoned sites, but they really can bring people together throughout the different stages of the project. 

 

Social media

Social media isn't just for sharing baby pictures and ranting about your day, it can also bring communities together by giving them an easy way to communicate. Your street or estate might already have a Facebook page, or you can easily start a new group, and you can make it more lively by inviting the people you already know on the street, getting them to do the same. Facebook groups can be used for all sorts of purposes, from letting neighbours know about road works, to putting things up for sale, and it's an easy way for busy neighbours to keep in touch. However, as with all social media, be careful about sharing personal information.

 

Throw a street party

Street parties have had somewhat of a resurgence lately, thanks to events such as the diamond jubilee and the royal wedding, and it's given the public a taste for old-fashioned, community-centred fun. You don't have to wait for a royal event of course, there are lots of reasons to throw a street party, from bank holidays to national celebrations, so have a think about what might be coming up. You will most likely have to apply for a road closure, and different councils have different rules about noise and other issues. Other than that, street parties should be easy to organise with enough enthusiastic volunteers, and everyone can pitch in with decorating, providing food, and lending their garden furniture. 

 

Start a book group

If you and your neighbours are a bit reserved, something like a book group or coffee morning can bring people together socially, without a lot of organisation or fuss. Put a post on Facebook, or stick posters around the street, asking for members, and have different people host the event each week. You'll soon find some common ground with people, and can enjoy building a social community.

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