Getting to know the Neighbours

Riding on the back of the success of the first ‘Meet your Neighbour Night’ I’m planning a ‘Neighbours Get-Together’ next Sunday afternoon.   Residents are currently moving in at a rate of 6-10 per month.  Having a Meet Your Neighbour event for newbies once every 10 – 12 weeks feels about right at the moment, with something smaller in between, so we are just getting people to meet by the pond with some cakes and drinks as well as having some games.   We’ll see how it goes!

Whilst events are a great way of getting together, building relationships with people on a one to one level is really important too.    The most difficult thing about this at the moment is I don’t live there and there’s no coffee shops, pubs or community spaces as yet.  Other than community events the most likely place for me to meet people is by either knocking on someones door and introducing myself (this is easy when you have the Welcome Pack but more difficult from then on).

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Having said that Sales Office is a place where I bump into people and usually it’s people who are due to move in rather than existing residents.    Generally they are pretty excited at the thought of moving into their new home and are really interested in my role.  Bumping into them at that point is a great first introduction.   People will often contact me with any questions if they have met me, or if one of the sales teams passes my details on.  One lady rang me last week as they hadn’t made up their minds on whether to buy or not as they were worried about being isolated.  I could hear that through our conversation she became more confident that she would meet people and be able to make friends through community events.   I love conversations like this.   I do think the first residents are really brave, moving into somewhere when they really don’t know what it will end up like.   It must be daunting, so it’s great to have a job that helps reassure people.

The issues of not having a ‘home’ in Lubbesthorpe will go away when the community cabin arrives at the beginning of October.   Hopefully it will become a community hub.    I really love the fact that this cabin will move around the site as new people move in.   It means this role is always at the forefront of people moving into Lubbesthorpe, welcoming them and helping them get to know one another.   It’s also a neutral space.   One of the things I have noticed where I live currently is that people don’t like going to peoples houses they don’t know that well.   They seem to feel awkward.   Not sure whether it will be the same in Lubbesthorpe but in light of the above, I hope it will feel like the communities space, not mine.    Plus the gathering space will be bigger than a house which has to be a bonus!

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The bonus of not having anywhere is of course you have to think outside of the box, always helpful when pioneering!

 

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Author: Sue Steer

I am a Pioneer Community Worker working with Churches Together in Leicestershire. My remit is to help cultivate community in Lubbesthorpe which is a new town that is being built on the edge of Leicester. Married to Dave we are passionate about exploring different ways of being church. We have two grown up boys who are off exploring life at University. I love yoga, aquafit, walking and gardening, laughing, singing and eating food with friends and family. I'm also a Baptist Community Minister.

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