Saturday, 5 May 2012

Building a sense of community...

Two days ago it was local elections and it's had me thinking about my local community. Until I left work to have Euna life was too busy to consider things on my doorstep. I worked at a school 40 miles away and hubby works a one hour train journey and two tube rides away in the West End of London. We spent our weekends catching up on housework and seeing (established) friends.

But there's something about having a baby and starting a family that makes you explore the people, places and services that make up your local community. Be it that you're reaching out for support/company. Be it that you want to explore the corner of the world that you are bringing child up in. Be it that when you have a baby you shed that slightly feckless and very internally focused attitude of your former single self. Whatever it is. People start really USING their communities when they start families and good for them.

I received a desperately thin copy of the "New Braiswick Park Newsletter" this week. I've seen it before and thought "ah bless". It's written by a local Pastor (need to find out what a pastor really is... what is the difference between a pastor, priest and vicar?) called Mary. It includes information on a couple of local groups, some gripping news on local bus stops and the latest on the community allotment. This particular featured a big front page (there are 4 pages) spread on the new "Community Room" and it's opening event. So I decide I am going to drag husband and daughter down to find out about our newest local facility. There will undoubtedly be free tea, what is there to lose?

So we go. It's nice. The infamous newsletter writing Pastor Mary greets us at the door, hooks us up with free tea and husband and I split. He to the newly re-elected local Lib-Dem counsellor to talk politics husband's a huge politics buff and had convinced himself SOLELY on the counsellor's pic that he's a dick and he can't wait to prove himself right... he doesn't, they talk for ages and husband wishes he'd voted for him. I go to the circle of mum's and try to make friends. There are three 8 month olds and a 5 month old. They seem nice and we exchange the typical "oh look at her hair", "doesn't he look like his Dad" and "how's she sleeping?" mum chat and it's all good.

I leave with the promise I will attend the Tuesday morning coffee group starting this week and an invitation from Pastor Mary to give her ideas of dance/arts classes I could teach. Husband comes out with a lot of local government gossip and news on plans for a local park etc. Brilliant. Glad we did it and so is husband.

So I'm just thinking that it's so often our generation feel like there's no sense of community. I wasn't alive 50 years ago but I assume we have a lot less of a sense of it than back then. We don't really chat over our garden fences anymore. I believe we're less likely to knock on neighbours doors and ask for favours. Why? I'd guess partly because we've convinced ourselves everyone is a potential sex offender or thief at the very least. But also because you get what you put in and we don't put in. Street parties and open houses aren't common place. Of 2200 new homes on our estate today's attendees totted up to less than 20. That's pretty sad.

Today's lesson is to get involved in your local community. I want to make stuff happen in mine, might teach a mum and baby movement class or might offer to lead some messy play. At the risk of sounding grotesquely "right-on"... I want to be part of the solution. Bring back community. Perhaps along with head vintage-style head scarves, bunting and cupcakes we can revive a 1950's sense of community?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate, read and reply to all comments, I would LOVE to hear what you think today...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...