We all sit up, thinking about ways we could change the world. Sometimes accidentally during maths lessons, maybe that was just me. If you have ever posted something to social media then you know what I feels like to want to make a change, to have an influence. We’ve all asked ourselves “how can I change the world?”
But you’re phrasing it all wrong (sorry but you are), the proper question you need to ask is How Can I Change My Street?
My street? What of it? Well, how well do you know your own street? Do you know the names of every single resident of [insert street name here]? Am I asking too many rhetorical questions? Maybe, but I have to get a message across. What if I told you that someone on your street was severely lonely?
Back in 2015, Paul Twivy wrote that ‘one in four adults REGULARLY experiences loneliness’. Despite this, only 25 per cent of 2,500 adults surveyed thought they had a responsibility to stay in touch with their lonely neighbours. This has been painted out to be a pretty hopeless picture, but every lonely person’s life on every street can be changed permanently with one thing, a street party.
By getting in touch with your whole street, you’re inviting everyone in your most local area to come and share stories, have fun and socialise. Not only this but your gathering could be crucial to brightening up the life of someone who lives alone and has little interaction with others. Between gatherings, the power of social media and group chats should be harnessed to allow streets to talk to each other on a daily basis.
Twivy, who I mentioned earlier, was a co-creator of The Big Lunch- an event, first launched in 2009, in which as many people as possible in the UK get together with their neighbours to have lunch together. It was a large success- 730,000 people took part, and 36 per cent of the people who took part believed that it ‘brought different ethnic groups together’. However, the Big Lunch had some flaws.
Firstly, it was an organised event. This meant that it was designed to be a one day a year thing. Also, it was focused around meeting outside, they should have known better in the UK. It rained on the day. Although this is one of the best and most successful events I have encountered, because of the organised nature of The Big Lunch, invariably, some of the change brought about wouldn’t be permanent. By bringing attention to these local gatherings, but not setting a deadline, more change is likely in the long term. I could even see this this new kind of conversation lead to improved local campaigning in the future e.g. opposing social clubs being knocked down (like the Basingstoke Irish Centre).
In summary, streets need to become more connected, harnessing group chats and get-togethers. This might seem like a small action but if every street includes everyone in it’s social life- then we have the potential the eradicate non-clinical depression from our country, and even the world.
P.S. Maybe all the young people in your neighbourhood could have a mental party and invite me?
THUMBNAIL CREDIT: APPLE INC.