Walsall organisations including Walsall Borough Council, faith groups, schools, businesses and others are joining forces to help local residents living in streets across the borough to renew their sense of belonging, support and friendliness, as widely experienced in the first Lock-down during the pandemic. As part of Walsall’s ‘As One’ campaign, the message, ‘Fill your street with friendliness’, launched on St Valentine’s Day, will soon be displayed on hundreds of large banners across the borough. From the spring, dozens of local As One events will be put on to help the message take root in each locality.
The idea is to encourage more of a sense of connection, kindness, friendliness and belonging between people who live on the same street and aims to be a huge boost for elderly people, young families, single people, everyone!
Dozens of churches and other faith groups, community centres and other Walsall partners are preparing to host As One Tea Party events, each for their own neighbourhood. There, residents from each local street will be introduced to the idea of starting a Street Association for their own street, with the aim of keeping the friendliness going long after the pandemic has lifted. In many local areas, an As One memorial service will also be held, ahead of the tea party, to remember the anxiety, isolation, loss and bereavement experienced by so many over the last two years and to help bring a measure of peace and ‘closure’, with the tea party then seeking to take the key ‘positive’ of the pandemic – the burst of community spirit – and help it to flourish for the long term.
The two-metre banner, introducing a design which is being picked up in other parts of the UK, focuses its encouragement on ‘your street’, because a Street Association led by local residents has been shown over 10 years to be a popular way of getting people together, organising things like a children’s party, a barbecue, quiz night or trip away, just for one’s own street. With an agenda of ‘friendship, fun, belonging, a helping hand’, the prize is that everyone gradually gets to know everyone, friendliness is released, isolation is addressed, fun is had and practical help flows to residents who may need it. Community events are anticipated to take place from the spring, with the Platinum Jubilee as a key incentive to get neighbourly communication going in time.
Fill your street with friendliness is simply supporting neighbourhoods and street to join together and get to know one another again . Coffee mornings , chats knitting clubs or even street parties , whatever you and your neighbours would enjoy doing together .