Make Your Neighbourhood a Community

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Modern life is surprisingly isolated. We have hundreds of connections online, but very few people that we spend time with on a regular basis, and we are collectively beginning to feel the effects of this physical isolation. Mental health issues are on the up, and doctors have realised that mental health has a tangible effect on physical health too. But for many people, mental health issues can be aided by eating well, sleeping properly, drinking enough water and – crucially – spending time with other people. It does not even need to be quality time spent with other people: a conversation in a supermarket, debating lessons with classmates and tutors, even a quick chat with the neighbours that you do not really get on with over whether it is bin day today or tomorrow can be enough for our sociably instincts to be alleviated.

A fair chunk of the population claims to be introverted or to not like people. These same reluctant people, on being forced to go out by a friend or not being able to think up an excuse quickly enough to get out of a commitment, will also find that they thoroughly enjoy themselves once they are out and meeting up with friendly people. Disclaimer: there are some genuine introverts who do not like any crowded place, who refuse to go out most of the time, and leave very quickly once they are impelled to attend. But these people are surprisingly few in number. What most people fear is the possibility that their evening out might go bad and when it turns out to be enjoyable, these fears are allayed and, they have a wonderful time.

Why not do your bit for your community by planning and holding a community event? It could be a street party, a barbecue, or a funfair – anything that brings people out to meet up and talk to one another.

Make a Plan First

Any large public event will need to be planned out carefully. You will need to find and book a venue, ensuring that you have all the relevant permissions and licences for the activities that you would like to offer at the event. Some places allow you to barbecue freely, others might have a ban on open fires, for example. One of the first things you will need to do, though, is acquire the funding to run the event, unless you are a millionaire who really wants to give back! Speak to a range of businesses who could profit from the event about chipping in money to pay any fees and licences, products to feed, clothe or entertain the community, or even services that can help the event go well. You will probably need to compromise: often sponsors will be very generous in exchange for a healthy promotional plug of their business or in exchange for some control in arranging and running the event. Allow a good few months between planning your event and holding it, as there will be plenty for you to do, from finding the money and coming up with a plan, to arranging all the activities and supplies that will be needed and, most importantly, making sure that everyone knows about your event and that they want to come to it.

Make it ‘The Event’ of the Year!

Promoting an event takes time. People need to hear about an event anywhere from one to three times before it registers with them, and some people need at least a month to plan to attend. Of course, there are people who will choose to attend on the spur of the moment, finding out what is available to attend on the day, but a large proportion of people like to know what they will be doing in advance. When it comes to promoting your event, use as wide a range of media as you can: get a shout-out on local radio, take out a series of ads in the local newspapers and magazines, post flyers and leaflets in appropriate places, and make use of social media. Facebook and Twitter will attract older people, while Instagram and Snapchat will catch the attention of youngsters. Make sure your posts feature plenty of colour and vibrancy – not many people like to read solid blocks of texts, so keep it short and use plenty of emojis to capture scrolling users’ notice.

Once your event in planned, start booking all the people you will need on the day. Get firm commitments from them, and make sure that you have a back-up plan for services or products that the event cannot run without. Try to establish a good rapport with the people helping you to realize your dreams and do remember to thank them at the end of the event. After all, you might need to do it all again next year!

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