Torbay’s Good Neighbours Project aims to link people in gentle way

Community builders aim to link people with their neighbours in the Ageing Well Torbay Good Neighbour

Community builders aim to link people with their neighbours in the Ageing Well Torbay Good Neighbours Project - Credit: Archant

Sometimes, all it takes for a community to form is a common purpose.

In 2012, Tarraway Road in Preston had just such a purpose. A group of residents decided to work together and get the field behind their houses reinstated as allotments.

The council insisted that all allotment holders had to be able to walk there as there is no parking on the site.

This gave rise to them talking to everyone in the street and finding 12 households who would agree to apply together to have an allotment association.

This small group transformed the feel of Tarraway Road and Hollicombe Lane behind it. Everyone got to know each other as they dug their patches, swopped stories and shared excess seedlings and produce.

During the first lockdown the ‘Clap for the NHS’ Thursday night ritual became a similar common purpose across Torbay.

Neighbours who have probably lived in the street for years but never saw each other suddenly met up. In some streets that regular Thursday night grew into friendships between households.

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I recently met a lady who lives in Cecilia Road in Preston. A couple of her neighbours agreed to meet for coffee in their front gardens. From that gentle start, other neighbours saw them and asked to join in.

Before long they were having their own socially distanced weekly meet up in their front gardens.

Birthdays were celebrated and they even organised for a simple jacket potato evening so they ate together. Has this happened in your street? We’d love to hear from you.

The Ageing Well Torbay Good Neighbours Project aims to link people in that gentle way.

We have put together a pack of ideas that you could try in your street. It just needs a couple of willing households to start the ball rolling.

If you would like a pack contact your community builder. If you don’t know who that is then email us all at communitybuilders@torbaycdt.org.uk and say where you live. The relevant person will get in touch with you and send you a pack. We are here to help.