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Get to Know Your Neighbours - Organise a Community Lunch

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 170

How many of your neighbours do you know? And what's your relationship with them? Do you even say hello? Long gone are the days when neighbours could be counted amongst your closest friends and could always be relied on for a cup of sugar if needed. Nowadays, upon running into a neighbour most people are likely to just say a reserved hello and retire back to their house or flat without sparking up a conversation. That's if they even recognise each other!

The growing trend of keeping to oneself has sparked new initiatives like the Big Lunch in the UK, a project directly aimed at rebuilding community spirit and getting to know those physically closest to you. It is essentially exactly what it says on the cover - a big lunch hosted by the community for the community with tables set up in streets, parks or village greens to which each person is invited to contribute.

If this sounds like something you'd like to take part in, in the UK you can express your interest by registering on the Big Lunch website. The next event is scheduled to take place nationwide on June 3rd to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

You don't have to play a part in a larger project to organise a similar event. If you're a keen advocate for getting to know your neighbours and encouraging a safe and welcoming community, host your very own lunch. Once you start talking you'll probably be surprised to hear how many people would welcome the initiative and how many helpers you could line up.

The Basics

You'll need to work on your confidence because your role as chief organiser will require you to knock on doors, persuade your neighbours to take part in the event and help you arrange the details. Decide on how big the area you're targeting will be. Your street, your cul-de-sac, your apartment building? Once you've sussed out whether people are keen on the idea, start laying plans.

Pick a venue like your street or the local park and confirm it's ok to host the event with your local council. Chances are they'll be eager to help you out! Set a date and time and either prepare invites or do the rounds again chatting to all your neighbours. Posters and flyers are a great way of spreading the word too.Get your children involved as there are no greater messengers.

If you've gathered a team of helping hands, assign everyone tasks and arrange weekly meetings to check everything's being carried out. Roles could include publicity people, volunteers to help you set up on the day and a decorating committee in charge of table cloths and bunting etc.

Check and double check that everyone knows when and where the lunch is scheduled to take place, and that they know to bring along foods to contribute to the table pot-luck-style. This is a particularly wonderful feature in multicultural communities where you could get to savour flavours from around the world.

Equipment Hire

Whether or not you'll have to hire tables and chairs depends on what kind of area you live in. If it's a suburban neighbourhood where houses have gardens, people are likely to have garden furniture they'd be willing to use. If, however, it's a neighbourhood with apartment blocks you might have to look into renting some cheap picnic tables and chairs. Just ask everyone to chip in a bit of money for the cause or speak to your local council to see if they could lend you some furniture or contribute funding.

If you'd like your lunch to feature a barbeque see if someone might be able to bring one along from their backyard. For big groups with big appetites though you could look at hiring a bigger grill either powered by gas or electricity, in which case you could have to consider power generator hire too, which is readily accessible across the world from South Africa to Canada to Russia.

To avoid disappointment make sure you have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. You could try the local community centre, village hall or church.

Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from technology to holiday destinations. Read through Harvey's other articles here to find out more.

Source: EzineArticles
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