During the pandemic we have all needed to rely on our neighbours.
It has been impossible to visit friends and family or travel as we normally do and our world has shrunk to our homes, our street and the local park. For many people neighbours and the street WhatsApp groups have proved to be a lifeline.
As well as a brilliant opportunity to give away items that are no longer needed (as charity shops and the dump were closed) but also gain useful stuff, in my case a table tennis table, cabbage bowl, a dog bed and a sourdough starter. Supporting your neighbour has meant help with practical errands, social visits and companionship, albeit at a two metre social distance. This also included looking out for older neighbours by providing shopping or meals for them or for people self-isolating. It has helped to build a sense of belonging to the local area.
A survey in Bristol – Apart but not Alone* (carried out at the start of the pandemic) found that neighbours were providing a wide range of support that went beyond just health information, food and medical prescription assistance, to include raising morale through humour, creativity and acts of kindness and solidarity. A substantial proportion felt that they had become more involved in neighbourhood life following the lockdown and had an interest in becoming more involved in future. Neighbour support spanned all adult age groups, including older people categorised as being at-risk to the virus.
The Walk and Talk Movement want to develop this feeling of belonging to the next level, now that we can meet in person do come along to our first Walk and Talk in Wimbledon Park on September 18th at 10.30am and bring a neighbour for a walk and talk and get to know them.
That’s when good neighbours become good friends… I’ll get my coat...see you in the park!
*Jones M, Beardmore A, Biddle M et al. Apart but not Alone? A cross-sectional study of neighbour support in a major UK urban area during the COVID-19 lockdown