Wish your street had more community spirit? The answer is to start a
How does it work?
A Street Association is run by a core group, usually of 6 or 8 or maybe 10 people, who meet once a month for one hour. They get to know each other, get comfortable with each other and have a good laugh. And when they meet, they ask, “what shall we, as a street, do next?”
Different Street Associations have come up with an astonishing array of activities, big and small, such as a quiz night, a barbecue, a fireworks party, a Christmas children’s party, a front garden sale, a walk in the countryside, an Easter egg hunt, a visit to the theatre or movies, a coach trip to the seaside, a coffee morning for retired people – and so on.
They also start looking out for who on the street has needs and who might be able to give an elderly person a lift to hospital, or offer help with a bit of DIY.
And the result?
Within a year, you could have a street where everybody knows each other, people smile, greet, chat, watch out for each other’s children, make new friends, find new purpose, banish isolation, enrich each other’s lives and have a street where everyone’s proud to live.
Just go to www.streetassociations.org to order your free starter pack, which includes a simple ‘how to’ guide on introducing the idea to the street, to a seven-minute video to show neighbours, to window stickers and ideas for how to get the Association off to a flying start. And Birmingham residents can ask for a facilitator to come and help with the first meeting.
Try it! And see the difference it makes for many people to be real community, together.
“We all lack the confidence to go up to someone and suggest meeting for tea, but I’ve been so warmly received by so many nice people that I can actually now do it”. (Amanda Cobbalt)
“I’ve got to know 10 or 12 people well. The street feels different now. There’s no feeling of isolation. If in need, I could knock on a door for help”. (Dyllis Stride)
“In many streets, we don’t acknowledge each others’ existence. Here, since the start of the Street Association, we know each other and we greet each other. Just someone looking you in the eye, saying hello and smiling makes a massive difference”. (Tony Barlow)
“For years, I wanted to get to know my neighbour across the street, but I was scared. Then, through the Street Association, I found out that she always wanted to get to know me, but was also scared! Now we’re good friends”. (Rinkel Shergill)
“I’m actually a shy person and I’ve only lived on the street for two years, but I know more people on this street than I’ve ever known anywhere I lived. Its made me feel this is a home, rather than just another house. It has really changed the feel of the street. It’s a nice, warm feeling”. (Debbie Perryer)
“As soon as I moved in, I had a card through my door, saying ‘Welcome to your new home – best wishes from the Street Association’, signed by neighbours. It was just the loveliest thing and it really touched me. You can get caught up with people trying to sell you things, but this is about people’s generosity and kindness – human nature at its best”. (Sarah Shaw)