10 ways to meet your community
Community is so much more than just a group of people living in the same area – it’s a sense of belonging, a support network, a purpose and an inspiration to help us make a difference. However, six million UK adults don’t know any of their neighbours by name (aviva.com) – we think that’s something that should be changed. Here are 10 ways to meet those around you.
Not only great for helping the planet by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, but offering any free spaces in your car is a great way to meet new people within your community. Find out if anyone does a similar commute to you and arrange days where you can all drive in one car.
Think like the TV programme Come Dine With Me and invite a handful of neighbours round, delegating a night where each person cooks. You could even extend this into a team effort and cook a starter, main and dessert within the streets you live in and then compete with neighbouring roads. Or, you could theme each night by a different cuisine so you’ll be bound to learn some new recipes in the process.
Whether it’s at a food bank or local youth club, there is a wealth of ways to give something back to your community and help those that need it the most. Head online to ncvo.org.uk, which is a database of volunteering opportunities nationwide. You can search by interest, activity or location and then apply online.
Reach out to younger members of your community and provide them with the support you would have appreciated at their age. Local schools and councils will have further details on ways you can get involved.
Buying your groceries locally both supports and invests in your area. Rather than spending in chain stores, keeping money in your neighbourhood will see it later become reinvested through other shops and services. And, you’ll also get to know the people who run the store, too – it’s a cycle of giving! Plus, it’s another way of helping the environment by saving on the transportation and fuel caused by going further afield to shop.
Organise a cleanup
If you have noticed litter becoming an issue in your local area, chances are others will have too. And, as the phrase goes, many hands make light work – enlist the help of your neighbours and arrive armed with bags and pickers. Not only will your town look tidier for it, but, by working towards the same common goal as others, you’re bound to establish that close-knit community atmosphere. Contact the waste and recycling division of your local council who can arrange a central collection point for the refuse to be collected at the end.
Group dog walks
There’s no union quite like man and his best friend, so spread this love with other dog owners and their furry friends with a walking club. Pass the message on through word of mouth when you next pass a fellow dog walker, and arrange a time and day you can all get together. That way, even the animals of your community are brought closer, too.
Next time you head out into your community, leave your phone in your pocket and make eye contact with those you pass. A smile is infectious and one of the easiest ways to make another person feel at ease. This small gesture will certainly be appreciated by others and spreads a friendly atmosphere among residents.
Visit a care home
Loneliness is sadly a lot more common than we realise for elderly members of the community. Lending an ear to those without any family members will be hugely appreciated, simply by calling in on local care homes for a friendly chat. You could even rally a few friends along with you and turn it into a regular event like a coffee morning.
Join an exercise club
It can take a lot of motivation to drag yourself down the gym to do a workout. So why not combine fitness with friends and join a local sports club? Not only will you meet other like-minded people who also want to keep fit and help spur you on, but being part of a team adds to that sense of belonging and unity.
This article first appeared in Issue 5 of Be Kind magazine, published July 2019, before COVID-19 restrictions came into effect. Be sure to check that you are acting in line with all restrictions in your area.