The Neighbourhood Connect project team is here to help support you to connect with your neighbours by providing free resources – ideas, examples, tools, encouragement and support, via this site and over the phone.
What Happens when Neighbours Connect?
As neighbours get to know one another through simple, regular social gatherings, they find common interests and concerns. People help one another, friendships may form, kids find playmates, matters affecting the area are shared and the group may take on projects of interest to members. We use a community development approach, where we give lots of ideas and encourage each neighbour group to choose for themselves what they want to do.
Who makes this happen?
We call the people who initiate and take organising roles Community Connectors. Anyone with an interest in turning their streets into a community can do this. While one person may initiate, we encourage that person to find two or three neighbours to share the connecting role if your group decides to have further gatherings.
What do Connectors do?
To begin with it’s as easy as organising one simple social event to bring people together. Start by talking with us and we’ll give you what you need, such as an invitation to adapt, and take you step-by-step through a simple process. Here are some of the things we encourage people to do:
Step 1: Choose a date and time for your event. Think about who lives in your neighbourhood … families, singles, couples, older people/or young people? What time of day would be suitable for getting the most people to join in? A weekend afternoon or morning might be most suitable for the first event to ensure those working during the week can attend. Consider the weather, time of year, avoiding holidays times when people may be away.
Step 2: Pick a venue. This may be at a café, park, your front yard or another local venue.
Step 3: Download an invitation template and plan event
Download an invitation template or design your own, complete your invitation and arrange printing. You may know people who can assist with printing to reduce any cost impacts. For example, sometimes local Real Estate agents or Politicians offices are happy to support local community causes. Food and drinks help to add atmosphere and your favourite sausage roll recipe can make a great conversation starter! Make sure you include those details on the invitation so people know what to expect. The easiest thing is to ask people to bring their own drinks and a small plate of food to share if you are meeting in a park or casual location.
Step 4: Deliver to letter boxes or door knock
To ensure that the process is manageable, we suggest starting just with your street or neighbours within a five- minute walk from your home. For a letter box drop, you could drop between 200 and 400 houses to get around 10 % take up. So, if you are comfortable to, and social distancing restrictions allow it, we recommend the more personal approach of door knocking. Our successful Connectors say door knocking to hand over an invitation is a much better way to get more uptake-up to 60% can respond this way! To stay safe, make sure you follow the health and safety information before you head out.
Step 5: Gather details
If you are door knocking and meeting people in person, you can use this Neighbour Contact list. to collect details for those who want to join your list or stay in touch for future events in case they can’t make your event . You might ask the group as you speak to them on their preferred communication method to make sure it suits the most people. Make a note of their needs and offerings and computer literacy so everyone can be included. Be sure to discuss privacy and get permission to record neighbour details and share as appropriate.
Step 6: Hold your event– Find other interested people to help you on the day as you are door knocking keep it simple, be welcoming, have name tags to make sure everyone can introduce each other easily. Take your Neighbour Contact list with you to gather more details of new people at the event. Contact us to chat about your upcoming event and we can support you!
Step 7 Start communicating and stay connected
Along the way, you will have gathered a sense of the best way to stay connected. It might be a Facebook /email/WhatsApp group with calls to those who don’t use these platforms. Once you have your Neighbour list you can invite people to join these groups and encourage people to start sharing.
Stay connected with Neighbourhood Connect and check out the ideas here for ways to connect with your neighbours, share support and get creative. Remember, sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference!
Most of the time people are keen to connect further and that’s the beginning of a Neighbours Group. We give you advice about having a small team of Connectors and ways to communicate and give invitations to further gatherings.