Community Lifestyle: improving the quality of your neighbourhood
A community generally comprises a group of people living in close proximity and practicing good neighbourliness. However, this is not always the case and it is sad to note that in some neighbourhoods people live their entire lives without really getting to know their next door neighbours or the people living in the streets around them.
A community should in essence present a cohesive, safe environment, providing a good quality of life for everyone with participative development and a continuous culture of improvement. Communities are the lifeblood of our lives and should be paid more attention through active connections.
For the greater benefit of all
There are many benefits to participating more fully in your community and encouraging others to do the same. A greater sense of confidence, security, self-esteem and happiness can arise out of the simple knowledge that you know the people around you, and they know you. Help is available at any time, and there is companionable satisfaction in knowing that you share the same values, perspectives and desire for betterment of your area.
Most important of all is the fact that community involvement gives one a larger sense of purpose than just sweeping your yard. Community purpose should rate as important as your job, your family, hobbies and friends. The value of responsibility and achievement are tied together when one practices a sense of community. So how do you go about improving the network in your neighbourhood? How do you motivate better relationships, co-operation and positive development?
Getting to know you
Introduce yourself: Neighbour by neighbour, make yourself known. Take a small gift and get to know the community as individuals first, before you start to make group efforts. Once they all know you, it’s easier to get them to know each other. People are usually more forthright as individuals than in a group. Once you have a small network of likeminded on your side, it’s easier to bring in others.
Open House: When you’ve made some connections, your next step would be to hold an open house event: invite the whole neighbourhood to a braai or drinks evening at your house. This is purely a getting to know you event – and it’s important to note who turns up and who doesn’t. Those that don’t respond, pay them a visit when convenient to see how they are placed with regard to participation; they may be people on their own or disabled in some way. In this way, you will get to know everyone’s situation – who can be relied on, those that need more encouragement, and those that need assistance.
The network: Once you have established broader connections, it’s a good idea to have further get-togethers – two or three perhaps – because each time you will draw in more people, establish stronger association, and bring in greater numbers who may share your vision for community improvement. Not everyone is your friend to begin with, so the point is to move slowly, building connections and understanding. Once you are at a stage where you can persuade people to meet for serious discussion on contributing to a safer and more attractive area, you can begin to list the options that will continue the momentum.
- Cleaning up: Getting groups together on a Saturday or Sunday morning to help with cleaning up the neighbourhood should be easier once you have established your connections. When others see the work being done and the improvements to the appearance of the area, they may be persuaded to join. Cleaning pavements, gutters, fixing fences, removing rubble, cutting down bushes and trimming overhangs, repairing signs, adding flower beds where possible.
- Planting trees: This is one of the most important improvements for any community. Trees are life-giving in every way – and planting ceremonies always bring people together. A tree is a greening legacy, leaving a feeling of contribution and memory for generations to come.
- A community garden: This is a great way to beautify an area and enhance the neighbourhood’s appearance. It is fulfilling to create a place where everyone can contribute and enjoy the results; make a place of peace, a place to meet, and a place of growth and purpose that will centralise efforts and prove to all that the neighbourhood is a great place to be.
- Organise a local fete: Nothing motivates people more than the opportunity to organise an event where people can get together and engage in the cheery business of selling homemade goods and food products. It’s bright and quirky and gets everybody searching for a bargain, and the kids looking for fun. It’s an opportunity for bric-a-brac, antiques, appliances, toys, gifts – and informs everybody of the creative energies in the community.
- A pavement competition: This is one that can be really fun and may motivate some to clean up outside their houses and beautify the road they live in. Planting or cutting grass, setting in some fancy paving, planting durable foliage, placing a couple of dramatic pot-plants…whatever the fancy of the participants, nothing gets people working like a highly visible challenge to set our naturally competitive natures on full charge – with a reasonable set of prizes of course!
- Noting those who need assistance: If you have good knowledge of your community, you will know those who are in need of assistance, such as the elderly or disabled, or even those who are financially constrained or just lonely. It’s important to remember that community is about supporting others – and to make others aware of those in need. Support is the fundamental purpose of community and part of developing a more cohesive community is about communicating supportive responsibilities to all.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle: Promoting this philosophy ties up with keeping a neighbourhood clean and tidy. Always remind people that nothing should be discarded if it can be reused or recycled. Offer to collect or receive delivery of such items, or arrange for people to contact a specific organisation to assist. Keep the community engaged, connected and focused – and watch the flowers grow!
The raison d’etre for My Lifestyle Collections
The Western Cape offers a rich history of architecture, beautiful fauna and flora, together with captivating views of magnificent mountain ranges and the scenic blue of the oceans. In fact, it offers the best in experience and lifestyle anywhere in the world. And we believe in making the best of what both nature and refined living can offer, including:
- finding those quiet, sophisticated and beautiful places to relax and indulge your senses
- offering fitness and health information that goes hand-in-glove with the enjoyment of open spaces and splendid vistas
- adding to lifestyle enhancement through the promotion of brilliantly refurbished antique items, brought to life in superbly crafted reflections of artistry, comfort and elegance.
If this sounds like an intriguing combination of services, find out more about our unique lifestyle offerings at: www.mylifestylecollections.com