Here is a brief summary of my approach, vision and plan...
I am aware, and it is heart warming, that there are so many groups springing up to try and help people connect across the city and far wider. But currently it seems to me that on the whole, people are trying to do very similar things but in a local and somewhat haphazard way, and that elderly people, or people not connected on social media can, and are being left out of the loop.
My approach differs from these in that I am hoping to achieve a consistent, coherent, blanket coverage (an 'umbrella' approach) to ensure that everybody has someone they can call on, whether they are able to use social media or not.
Approaching this problem using the small level of a Street Group focussed approach is simple, manageable, inclusive and and fosters trust, but can be scaled up across the city, country and even further afield.
It is essential that we do not put vulnerable people at risk and that is exactly why I believe this approach minimises the risk of misuse and abuse; people are less likely to take advantage of people who live on their street and if they do so they are likely to be outed and ostracised by the rest of the community on their street. By building and strengthening the community on a street, trust is established and grows and people take care of each other and look out for their vulnerable neighbours.
Once set up, the Street Groups will then have a single point of reference in my website as a central hub.
1) The website sets out simple step by step instructions for new visitors to the site explaining how they can set up their own Street Group using the downloadable flyer that they can print and distribue up their street.
2) It will also be a general resource for information such as health and practical information, services offered by local businesses (grouped by town or city) and national organisations, ideas to keep adults and children occupied and entertainment and humour, such as jokes, memes, videos, music, art and poetry.
3) A bit further down the line I would like this to be a place where people can share live information for their local area, for example for a co-ordinated approach for volunteering resources, finding out what other streets in their community are doing, seeing what queues are like in supermarkets before people leave their street, getting food parcels to those who qualify etc, etc. The idea is for people to take ownership of the community on their street and also their wider local community (eg, Windmill Hill) within their town or city.
4) I hope that these groups will thrive long after this current crisis has passed, and I have further ideas that I wish to develop through this, regarding connecting people within their local community in order that they can encourage, motivate and inspire each other to make changes in their personal lives. In so doing, they can further and make a difference to causes they feel passionately about, for example things that people can do at an individual and local level to help mitigate against the impending climate disaster.
I fully believe that change at a local, national and global level starts with the changes made by individuals within their local communities as much as it does from the top down with policy making.
People care and want to make a difference, but often they don't know how to do that... so we just need to provide the resources and help them to connect!!