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'Real world' community spirit?





watersoul
I've lived on top of a hill for the last few years and there is a strong residents association with regular meetings and social events. I've never really been interested in it to be honest but in the last few weeks they have been trying to build a list of residents with skills/abilities/time that can be used by others so I thought I'd show my face and be a bit more social for a change.

I am self-employed (general building/property maintenance) so I've offered an 'inspection' service for any vulnerable folk on the hill (for free) if they have any property issues.
I'm not particularly hunting the work for myself, just passionate about a couple of loose roof tiles not being turned into a few thousand £££'s worth of work when it's not needed, or other such tricks which 'cowboy builders' often use to rip people off.
Basically, a service for the old/disabled folk on the hill to be able to know what options they have for any problems without being hard sold into expensive extra work that isn't really needed at the time.

I'm of course likely to get some work out of this, but my intention is genuinely to save the wallet of fellow residents and if they want to get someone else to do it I'll be happy that they are making an informed choice, not ripped of. I will also be able to recommend other guys I know in the trade who are equally trustworthy.

I've also put my name down for a shopping/delivery service for old/disabled residents. The association is going to act as a central point for anyone 'stuck on the hill' this Winter, or for any other reason. The idea will be a mass text/sms to everyone on the list and whoever is available will respond as they can.

Our hill has steep access roads and steep (12 inch/30cm) stone steps (267 at one end), and when it gets icy it is a challenge for able bodied folk sometimes. The association has also managed to convince the council to provide a couple of salt/grit bins and I've agreed to grit the sharp bend by my house as and when the council 'tweet' that zero temps are expected overnight. Other residents are covering their bits of the hill as well.

I had began to think that community spirit was suffering a slow death over the last few years but it seems that when a few people make the effort to organise things then the apathetic folk like myself can actually be drawn in and help make a difference.
I'm still not into the whole social gathering things that go on, as apart from living on the same hill I have little in common (socially) with most of my neighbours, but I like this drive to help each other out instead of relying on 'official' services all the time.
It is a good model for all communities in my opinion and I'm pleased to live in a place with this look out for the neighbours mindset.

I know Frihost members come from the smallest rural villages to the largest metropolitan cities, so I'm interested to hear how strong or weak your local sense of community is?
In this world where all of us seem to be looking at screens these days it is sadly sometimes easy to forget the people who we pass every day.
standready
That is very good, watersoul. Maybe your lad can do some snow shoveling as well to give a sense of community.
My neighborhood of 48 homes has little (actually no sense) of community. I do know most everyone in the neighborhood and talk to them when they are out. I socialize with a few. I will help anyone that needs my help.
watersoul
standready wrote:
Maybe your lad can do some snow shoveling as well to give a sense of community.
He will definitely shovel like a man for his neighbour these days, but it won't often be snow here because evening rain and ice is mainly our issue. In 23 years we've had snow 3 times, melting away in 3 or 4 days, the last being Dec 2010:



Quote:
My neighborhood of 48 homes has little (actually no sense) of community. I do know most everyone in the neighborhood and talk to them when they are out. I socialize with a few. I will help anyone that needs my help.
Sounds like more of a community than some places I've lived where people are almost scared to even look each other in the eye as they pass in the street Shocked

Some of my favourite communities I've lived in though have centered around a strong family pub where everyone popped in. Summer street/park parties with no 'official' approval from authorities but police ignoring it because the few thousand people from every surrounding street was there having unofficial fun. Why turn it into a riot? Sensible policing.

More of a formal thing with the democratic residents association where I'm at now, probably reflects the socio/economics and lack of a pub, but instead a couple of hotels whose bars and function rooms serve as 'association meets'.
I prefer to walk down off the hill to the area I previously lived at and have a game of pool and a pint with people who I share more in common with than just locality. Million £Pound houses in my street, not mine though, scraping a tenth of that at most, but with a clear sea view which makes me happy.

I act the part chatting to other residents of course, but they know I 'moved up' to the hill, and I know I'm usually just pretending well at being interested in their small talk. Regardless, they're my community now so I'm quite into this residents organised democratic community thing...the geographically closest people can provide the quickest assistance to that community if they know each other.
standready
watersoul wrote:

Quote:
My neighborhood of 48 homes has little (actually no sense) of community. I do know most everyone in the neighborhood and talk to them when they are out. I socialize with a few. I will help anyone that needs my help.
Sounds like more of a community than some places I've lived where people are almost scared to even look each other in the eye as they pass in the street Shocked

I should clarify/add: Most people in my neighborhood hardly even know their next door neighbors let alone anyone on the other street or even down their street. SAD
watersoul
standready wrote:
I should clarify/add: Most people in my neighborhood hardly even know their next door neighbors let alone anyone on the other street or even down their street. SAD
Yep, it is sad. I've known a few places like that.

I think our sense of community has changed big time in the digital age.
In the days of minimal communication media (writing letters and reliance on public pay phones) we met each other more regularly to speak face to face. This 'need to meet' was easier with those around us, our neighbours.

These days I've actually found myself in a group setting when everyone is communicating with someone who isn't present via sms/facebook/twitter/etc - I've sighed, wow, everyone's looking at screens not each other.

I often wonder if geographic 'communities of individuals' will become the future norm, with everybody looking at screens instead. I'm no luddite by any stretch, but I hope not.
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