The Big Lunch weekend is over but that doesn’t mean your neighbourly interaction should be too! Here are 15 ideas to keep your community spirit soaring high all year round.
1. Start a private Facebook group for your street
Share ideas, have discussions and stay in the loop with each other. If you don’t know everyone’s names yet, ask all members to ask their neighbours left and right so that eventually everyone’s been invited.
2. Start a Monthly Meet Up
This can be in a format that suits your neighbourhood. Perhaps it’s in the church hall at the end of the street, or maybe you take it in turns to host – with a different theme each time! It could be potluck dinners, wine and cheese nights or even Sunday brunch! From here you can discuss further projects, clubs and fun activities.
3. Create a Babysitters Club
For free and trusted babysitters, start a club for mothers and fathers based on points rather than cash. Earn a point by babysitting a neighbour’s kids, spend a point by having a neighbour babysit yours. Instructions and tips here.
4. Have a Street Swap day
One neighbour’s trash is another one’s treasure. Organise a morning where people can put out good quality items they no longer want, free to go to a good neighbour’s home!
5. Sign up to Streetbank
Streetbank is a website that lets groups create a bank of handy items—think ladders, backpacks, trailers etc. where people can borrow items easily, and also request items to easily ask if one exists in their community.
6. Start a community project
Think of something your group can take ownership of and be proud of: maybe a communal veggie garden, an art project, a walking school bus, or a phone booth book swap!
7. Look after the elderly
Ask elderly neighbours on regular driving dates to help them with shopping and appointments, and check if they need help with cleaning, bills and home maintenance etc.
8. Have a street working bee
Get together and have a street clean up and guerrilla gardening day—pick up litter, weed hedges and footpath edges, remove or paint over graffiti—then celebrate your sparkling clean street with a shared meal.
9. Arrange a play day for the kids
Plan some fun activities—maybe the ‘Fun Olympics’ in a local park or hall so that children of the neighbourhood get to know each other and make new friends.
10. Create a ‘Street scrapbook’
Gather stories, photos, clippings, drawings and quotes etc. from all neighbours and create a scrapbook that captures the community’s spirit—add to it or create a new one each year to reminisce over in future years.
11. Walk together
Getting active is easier when there’s a group waiting for you. Start a group for regular walking, whether it’s a pre-work power walk, a mid-morning march or a sun-down saunter!
12. Volunteer together
Identify a cause you’re passionate about and get to know each other while giving back!
13. Fundraise for community improvement
Organise a weekly raffle, mow lawns, clean cars, sell cakes—you get the idea—to raise money for a community initiative that will make you all happier. Maybe a neighbourhood picnic table, a children’s playground area, a neighbourhood marquee or BBQ, or a base kitty so you’re sorted when a need arises.
14. Look for community funding opportunities
Keep your eyes peeled for pots of community funding to help you with your projects. Start with Funding Central and your local council, and make sure to keep an eye on social media too.
15. Go on a street holiday!
It might be something to aspire to for now, but we’ve had reports of great success from streets that organise annual getaways for the ultimate community bonding experience!