I'd love to see these connections maintained and strengthened after lockdown. The communities I work with have stepped up to help people in acute need, but I hope that in the future people will keep coming together to help each other out even if we aren't in crisis.
I think every week that goes by we learn something new on our street and a lot is about creating what I would say are 'bumping spaces'. A taco van came to our road the other night, food was lovely but really slow! As we queued there was 1-2 hours to chat to people and the street turned into a playground. Out of connection, so much is possible. But it took someone to arrange it, to send out the WhatsApp message. It took someone to create the space.
To build connections in my neighbourhood I would like there to be a better co-ordination between all the volunteering groups. So many people are giving their time and resources to helping others and sharing those skills and experiences would be really powerful.
I've been really inspired by the Mutual Aid groups, where people can ask for, and offer their help to complete strangers (fellow citizens), and there has been so much engagement from a wide variety of people across the city for this.
Unfortunately, these MA groups currently only seem to be on Facebook where a lot of the community will be shut out from, there has been a successful grassroots campaign that has really bolstered engagement with the community.
This worked by posting flyers through everyone's door to inform them about their local mutual aid group and the name and number of their local volunteer (which is how I got started).
I would love to see this continued where we actively seek to get to know our neighbours wherever we live, and not just the person that lives in the flat above/nextdoor, the whole street!
Perhaps this can be achieved in local events that celebrates certain holidays/ anniversaries, or events that are focussed towards mutual aid; jumble sales, skillswaps.
If these events could reclaim your street, no car zone for a day a month that would also be fantastic! Encourage everyone out of their house and outside to say hello.
Even more radical would be the idea of a 4-day working week, where parhaps the 5th day was given over to your community action. I'd sign up for that!
Before Covid, if I moved into a new place, I wouldn't have even knocked on the nextdoor to say hi. Now I feel much more confident in being able to reach out, because once you get over your own awkward and anxious Britishness about interracting with other people, put in that bit of time and effort, than you will reap the rewards in knowing that you are making a positive impact.
One of the good things we can take away from the pandemic is the local connections and support we’ve seen. Having only lived in the area for 6 months, I’ve connected more with my neighbours during lockdown than before the coronavirus crisis. I’d love to see the connections I’ve made continue to grow.
We had a harpist come and play on our road the other day! All the little acts of kindness local and from the wider community have been lovely and it would be great to see some of this continue.
Some of the activities we’ve started in lockdown would be great to continue with afterwards. Checking in with older people by phone is lovely and you can build a connection quite quickly. Some of those we are ringing might still be living alone once lockdown is over.
With at least 5 other people, I'd like to be able to properly educate myself and others in Whitchurch (or in the broader Bristol as a whole) to understand more about why Black Lives Matter.
Just to be able to fully comprehend and deepen my/our own empathy and have a friendly natter with people about this important topic, and what it actually means.
How we go forward, is up to us, maybe it starts with a chat and acknowledging that certain people do have privileges (without taking anything away from the inequalities that other folk have to put up with).
Equal rights/civil rights for Black folk doesn't mean less rights for me or anybody else (as is sometimes misquoted, unfortunately).
I would love it if EVERY HUMAN BEING has these privileges, but I'm not sure how we try and go about doing this properly in Bristol and beyond??