We’ve reached 50 neighbourhood groups in our Network!
This was our goal for 2018! 27 of those groups wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t helped them get started. Congratulations to our own team member Bec who started the 50th group in Bayswater, Vic. Thanks to all who contributed to getting us to this important milestone!
We had a great event for Neighbour Day on Sunday 18th March. The Brimbank City Council helped fund our BBQ with a Neighbour Day grant and we had about 50 neighbours through who were mightily impressed with what everyone contributed including great company, the famous pulled lamb of our new neighbour Luke and all the amazing healthy salads, muffins and cookies that we feasted on!
It was a great day with a lovely team helping out including our resident Couch Street Fairy Lulu, Lucia Bourke who came incognito to wow us with her face painting for the kids and a wonderful party pack from the Albion and Friends Toy Library including a roller coaster ride for the toddlers. In addition to a Facebook post our generous neighbours printed and delivered 300 invites to the local streets and we were rewarded by meeting some new and old friends on the day.
Extra fun with the weather turning nasty at the last minute! Fortunately we had some wonderful neighbours answering the early morning SOS to help with the last minute change of location to my place, plus the decoration, cooking, shopping and set up. The sun did come out between showers and gusty winds – it was nice to be under shelter and not have to cancel the event altogether. Note to self, a plan B location is always a good idea! It’s been nice to hear about the connections everyone made on the day and the difference it has made having these events when we walk down our streets. It’s definitely helped to make our little part of Sunshine a much smaller place !
Jodie Williams, Street by Street Neighbour group, Sunshine, Victoria
The approaching summer season is a great time to bring your neighbours together and we’re outlining the simple steps to make it easy. If you’re one of those who have had great intentions to connect more in 2017 but still haven’t taken the plunge …try keeping it simple and start with just one gathering. Ideally, find a friend or neighbour to help to make it even easier. Here’s the steps to make it happen:
Choose a local park, front porch, front lawn, cafe or suitable spot to gather with your neighbours.
Pick a suitable day and time-consider a weekend or times that you think more people might participate. Some Street by Street groups have found 6pm on a Sunday in summer a popular time to meet.
Make use of the free invitation templates and add your details to customise your event. Get people to bring their own food to share, drinks and a chair if needed.
Do a letter drop in your local streets (remember not everyone will respond so you might need to drop 100-200 letters to get 10-20 people respond).
On the day, set up a table, have some music, name tags so people can learn each others names and get ready to welcome people for a chat. You never know who you might meet!
If you need help, contact us and we will be happy to talk you through any of the steps and if this gathering results in the birth of a neighbour group, please let us know!
Sharing the love
If you are gathering a group of neighbours or friends together this festive season, why not consider making giving part of the event? East Fremantle Community Connector Wendy (pictured right delivering donations) has asked her neighbours to bring along a gift to distribute to a local men’s charity. Socks (in winter) and thongs and hats (for summer) have been gratefully received by St Pats Community Support Centre. Here are some ideas for your group to consider.
http://www.givit.org.au/ Givit is like a matchmaking service between charities and those in need. You tell Givit the item you have and they put the call out to dozens of charities to help find the ideal recipient.
Or find a charity close to where you live and make the giving support your local community.
News from the West
In Perth, Street by Street Project Coordinator Maureen Maher has been partnering with the City of Fremantle and Know your Nation to create the Garden Party Collective, a project to start neighbourhood groups during the working week. A dynamic group from the community have been meeting weekly to get to know each other, gather skills and create their very own garden party, with funding to support two neighbourhood events in the next six months. The emphasis is on creating welcoming events that support some of the more vulnerable people in the community to participate. We look forward to reporting on how the events unfold as they kick off later this month.
Street by Street keeps on growing
The Street by Street network of neighbour groups is continually growing as the word spreads. Most are groups that we have helped get going (and help from time to time if they need it).
Other groups have been connecting in their own way and have joined the network because we all share the goal of revitalising the norm of community life in our streets. People are meeting fantastic neighbours they never knew were there, and people are sharing things and helping each other. That’s what it’s all about – life is better when we’re connected. There are now 28 groups in Vic, WA, Qld, SA and most recently, ACT. To read about the groups, go to Joining a Group at www.streetbystreet.org.au
Love the idea? Take action by encouraging people to contact us for help to bring their neighbours together and / or join our national project team to contribute to promoting this far and wide (we have no shortage of ideas, just need more people to help from the comfort of your own home). Contact Irene Opper, Project Manager, on 0413 706 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please follow us on Facebook and share the page with your family, work colleagues and friends to spread the word.
Neighbours in the Hilton Street by Street group got together recently for their annual litter clean-up and afternoon tea with some great outcomes for the participants and the environment.
The group of nine adults, seven kids and two dogs dispersed across the neighbourhood and in just over half an hour, eleven bags of rubbish, two mattresses and a shopping trolley were picked up from the streets and lane ways. Then it was time to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea together on this sunny Sunday afternoon.
During the afternoon, a number of the participants agreed to be part of a video for a new Street by Street Project promotional clip and shared their thoughts on belonging to our neighbourhood group and the benefits of being involved. The video is still in the making so we will keep you posted when it’s ready to view.
Some of the comments so far suggest the group has been a positive experience for many…
“We get to trust each other more when we get to know each other …” Mia 10 years old
” Coming from England and not knowing anyone, we were invited to participate in the group and we really enjoyed getting to know our neighbours. Now everyone says hello and it’s lovely!” Steff
What started as one block of apartments expanded to the entire Esplanade and has further grown to include the residential part of Acland St and surrounding streets. With more and more people asking to join, there are now 99 members! We’ve chosen the name Green Knoll Neighbour Group as Green Knoll is an old name for St Kilda, particularly the bit of it near us. We started with one Community Connector, then two and now we have five people sharing the organising.
We create lots of opportunities to meet up in person – St Kilda is full of great spots where we can share a meal, a drink or a coffee. We have a spot that any of us can drop in any Tuesday for a chat and we have dinners and brunches at varying local places. We can now enjoy live music, theatre and walks along the bay with our neighbours. With a handful to a dozen people coming to each gathering, it’s been ideal for making real connections. We’re meeting fabulous people and talking about our area and local issues. We’re supporting local businesses and spreading the word on local developments, festivals and events. We’re planning to have street parties and barbecues / picnics in the warmer months. We’re making friends and helping one another. Someone asked the group – who can take a cockatiel? A neighbour did. Someone else asked to borrow a sewing machine – 3 were offered within 24 hours! An onion for tonight’s dinner? – easy now. Offers of help to neighbours who are injured or sick – plenty! Neighbours have swapped car parks so that an older man could get into his car, a huge relief for him. People now know who they can call on to walk their dog or help when they go away.
Lots of people ask to join our group but we don’t want it to get too big (if that horse hasn’t bolted already!) so we suggest they start their own Street by Street Group. A group has just started in St Kilda West and another is starting soon in another part of St Kilda.
After a successful progressive dinner in 2014, the Hilton Street by Street group (WA) were keen to give it another go. An email message was sent to gather interest, dinner hosts volunteered their homes and people started planning their best party food. With more than 20 adults and 14 kids involved the logistics got a bit tricky but it all came together and was a fabulous success.
With such a big group, it was decided to break into smaller groups for the main meal, so that we could all get to have a better chat with a few people. The evening kicked off at 5.00 pm under a beautiful shady peppermint tree in the front yard of our neighbour hosts. The tree house was a hit with the kids and adults got to have a drink with new and old faces. One couple had lived across the road for 16 years and not met any of the group before!
After an hour we wandered off on foot to our main meal hosts and shared a meal in a more intimate setting. Lovely conversations followed, with kids and adults of all ages, on a relaxed and balmy Perth evening.
All the groups gathered again about an hour later at the top of the hill for our dessert venue. We all enjoyed our host’s panoramic views over Fremantle, happy kids tucked in to homemade ice cream and more champagne flowed!
Lisa sums up her first experience as part of the street by Street community: “My family were lucky enough to move into the neighbourhood just before the progressive dinner and we were delighted to be invited. We went along with our allocated dish and much anticipation and had a lovely evening dining andf meeting a fantastic group of community minded people. Within a short space of time, we have met many of the neighbours that I’m sure we would have taken much longer (if ever!) to meet”
A great afternoon was had by all at the recent inaugural Hilton Bake Off . Thanks to group member Fi who organised the event, we had 25 adults and kids and a superb array of sponge cakes ready to be judged by our local patisserie chef, Blake, who volunteered his time, expertise and taste buds!
Only one cake could be a winner (the iced sponge in the photo) but the before and after shots tell it all-they were all delicious!
Fi even sourced an op shop cake tray trophy which will be engraved with the winners name…now ain’t that the icing on the cake!? Congratulations to Deidre and Sasha who made the winning sponge.
Another fun Street by Street gathering. If you’d like to organise something similar where you live, just email me at maureen@streetbystreet and I’ll tell you all about it.
Jonathan shares his story of the first neighbours meeting…
About 12 neighbors, including three families and their children, meet for the first time in Belgrave, at a local cafe, as part of the street by street initiative.
It was a very casual and enjoyable occasion. Everyone enjoyed getting to know one another and finding out where each other lived and what each of us did.There was strong interest in doing more social activities in the future as well as helping each other out in various ways and being generally a bit more neighborly. Parents were especially happy to meet other families with children.
All up it was a great day. Plans are in the works for a picnic in the park soon…
As it was working so well in my building (see earlier blog post), I decided to connect with all the neighbours in my street – the Esplanade in St Kilda, Melbourne. A letter dropped invitation to everyone brought out some great people and we have been meeting in local cafes and getting to know one another over a drink or a meal. We all share a love for the area. My neighbour Lorraine has joined me in being a connector for the street and we are looking for people who will initiate gatherings within each building (as there are about 8 apartment buildings) in addition to our whole-of-street group. We have 49 people in the group so far. Ideas that are surfacing are approaching the council to improve lighting in a square, helping one another, sharing information on developments that will affect us, walking along the bay together and barbecues and picnics! I’ve been living here 5 years and now that I know my neighbours, it’s feeling more like home. I’ve helped my neighbours and they’ve helped me and we’ve enjoyed one another’s company – that’s what community is all about!
Approximately 30 neighbours gathered at a riverside park in East Fremantle, on a sunny Spring Saturday morning, for no other reason than to say hello and get to know one another a little better.
The Town of East Fremantle supported the event, printing the flyers which were distributed by Street by Street volunteers into letterboxes 3 weeks prior to the date. (Contingency was made in case of rain, with an alternate date if “Wet’, which was prudent as the initial Saturday saw freezing temperatures and rain so was postponed!) A banner was also made which was used to promote the gathering and to be displayed at the Park on the day. The Mayor of East Fremantle Mr Jim O’Neill attended the gathering with warmth and friendliness- neighbours enjoyed the chance to meet the Mayor but there was no “politics” being aired.
Neighbours were invited to bring some morning tea along (no nuts), and for around 3 hours a lovely time was had by all, with new friendships being made, connections established about activities going on in the neighbourhood e.g. Dragon boating, and enthusiasm for when the next Street by Street will be held- Summer.