There are plenty of things you can do to begin bringing your neighbours together. Street parties are just one way.
Start with the end in mind. What are your dreams for your street or neighbourhood or community?
Hold onto your motivation when progress in the street seems slow. Keep persevering and keep praying for opportunities.
Don’t be put off when neighbours ignore you or give you a frosty reception. We don’t always know what’s behind it so try not to take it personally.
Building community needs to be intentional. It doesn’t happen on its own. Pray that God will help you discover like-minded people who share your dream to engage with your street. God also longs for a sustainable, nurturing community where people can belong, feel safe and fulfill their God-given potential, as they love their neighbour.
- Try inviting some neighbours in for a casual drink – keep it short and informal so they won’t feel trapped by being in someone else’s home.
- Host a small dinner party. Prepare all the food beforehand so you don’t spend all your time in the kitchen or have a friend over to help. After all, you do want to get to know your guests.
- Plant a herb garden out the front so neighbours can come and pick them. Place signs with some ideas as to how they could use the herbs.
- Offer excess salad and vegetables from your own garden by putting them out front with some spare bags and a friendly sign for them to help themselves.
- Have an afternoon tea for a particular age group like the seniors in the street and listen to stories from the past.
- Researchers have long known about the health benefits of “social capital” - the ties that build trust, connection, and participation. Knock on a few neighbours’ doors and introduce yourself. Share the fact that good health is connected to social connection and you want to do all you can to improve your health!
- Try something a little more traditional like a card night or a board game and invite some people who might not know each other. Try not to be too competitive...it’s only a game after all!
- Host a charity coffee morning and invite some neighbours in. As these organisations are well known, people might be more trusting to come.
- Have a blind tasting – it could be anything from cheese to home made muffins or wine. Either have it all prepared or invite people to bring an item for others to sample.
- Consider a “Bake-Off” of any description. See if you can hold it on the street or footpath and let neighbours know when the all important taste testing will begin. Put the kettle on to turn it into an informal social gathering. Make sure it remains fun!
- Christmas is a great time to open up your home for mulled wine & nibbles.
- Invite all the ladies to join you in a meal at the local village pub. Encourage the men to do it, too!
- Find out if those who enjoy their fitness would like to run together or enter a local race as a group.
- See if others in the street would like to join a local sports club e.g. tennis or netball.
- Take a present for a new baby or a neighbour’s birthday
- Host a party e.g. jewellery and invite the ladies from the street.
- Suggest a time and date to meet at the local park for an informal picnic.
- Pray for your neighbours regularly, by name if you can. It is lovely to be known by name. Have a list of house/flat numbers so you can write down who lives where and be intentional in learning names.