It may have just gotten a bit easier to get to know your neighbours.
Great Neighbours is a new initiative designed to help neighbours connect where they live. Volunteers are being recruited as block connectors – people who live on an urban or rural block and are interested in meeting the 10-20 households nearest them for a chat. Block connectors will also take part in training, receive tools to make connections and help coordinate a neighbourhood activity at least once a year.
“We are often too busy to get to know our neighbours, too shy or think people can’t be bothered,” said Bobby-Jo Stannard, with The City of Red Deer. “But we know that social connection is important to us, and being neighbourly has all kinds of benefits, including enhanced safety and mental and physical health.”
Research suggests the advantages to neighbourliness are many: 1) neighbourhoods that are safe, clean, welcoming and supportive boost health and quality of life; 2) personal safety and neighbourhood security are enhanced when people watch out for each other; 3) you can save money and time when people pool resources or share and swap skills and tools; 4) it’s environmentally friendly to carpool or shop local; 5) you can share produce from your gardens; 6) children and youth thrive as they grow up among friends and caring neighbours; 7) reduces social isolation and increases our feeling of belonging and caring .
Funded by Red Deer & District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and facilitated by The City of Red Deer, this initiative is meant to be owned and advanced by the citizens of Red Deer and the FCSS area – including Red Deer County, Bowden, Delburne, Elnora and Penhold.
A community mobilizer has been hired to recruit and train block connectors and guide the initiative.
“Knowing your neighbours doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. We know that people are happier when they can share some coffee with their neighbours on the driveway, take turns mowing each other’s lawns or shovelling snow, and rely on one another in times of crisis,” said Nora Smith, Community Mobilizer.
Block connectors will start visiting their immediate neighbours in late September. They’ll carry ID and provide some information for households. If you meet a block connector in your community, whether on the street or at your door, please take the time to connect.
People interested in volunteering as a block connector or want to know more information about the initiative can visit www.reddeer.ca/greatneighbours.
For more information, please contact:
Program Coordinator – Red Deer & District FCSS
The City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer