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Large the secret of happiness 3

A surprising way to make yourself feel good

What are your resolutions for 2015? Less food, caffeine, "screen-time".... more exercise?  

These are good goals, which will no doubt give us a kick - if we succeed.

But could our resolutions be even more rewarding?

More often than not they centre around us – what will make me happy, what will improve me? But, what if our resolutions for 2015 were to centre on those around us? Perhaps counter-intuitively, the research suggests that it is doing things for others and doing good that actually makes us feel good.

In this spirit, I’ve decided to make this goal my resolution for 2015:

To make my street the friendliest in the neighbourhood - to build the already healthy community spirit where I live and make Queensmill Road famous for the strength of its community spirit.  

I’m gathering a small team of neighbours and together we’re going to put on a few events over the course of the year. We haven’t decided what, but our early thoughts are that we’ll choose three of these ideas:

  • Pot Luck Dinner – we’ll provide the baked potatoes and everyone else can bring a filling – any time of year
  • Give and Take Event – a day for neighbours to put out unwanted furniture and other things on their street – any time of year
  • Eurovision Song Contest Fancy Dress Party – a chance to – at least for a day - celebrate Europe, kitch and extravagance - 16th May
  • Big Lunch – lunch with your neighbours that now happens in thousands of streets across the UK - 7th June
  • Rugby World Cup Final – the third biggest sporting event after the Olympics and the football World Cup - 31st October

What else could we do to make our street more friendly?

What one thing could you do for your street? If you’d like to join me in setting yourself a street-focused goal drop me a line and click here for a bit of inspiration.

I’m excited by the prospect of 2015 – of the difference my neighbours and I could make where we are – and the sense of purpose and belonging we’ll get from this community experiment!


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في February 18 2015 Lesley Tulley قال:

Hi Sara….we have an annual street party which is hugely popular and everyone always says what a shame it is we can’t do it more often. I love your once a month idea. Can you share a little more about how you went about that? Do the council provide barriers and do you pay? Many thanks, Lesley

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في January 9 2015 Sam Nic, Tess, Alice & Rachel قال:

Nicola – that’s a brilliant idea! In fact, we’ve just heard there is a £2m fund for bringing a cinema to your street. It’s set up by the BFI and you can read more about here – http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/announcements/bfi-s-2m-neighbourhood-cinema-fund-now-open

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في January 8 2015 Tallulah Tay قال:

Hi, I read this and thought “yeah, if only it were that easy”. But the idea stayed with me and I have been thinking about the things that I could do to build up the community in my local area. An idea I have read somewhere (maybe a Streetbank concept?) is Social Cinema, where people can get together to enjoy a film without having to travel or pay expensive cinema prices. In my previous life, I was a Primary School teacher, where I ran a successful after-school Film Club and I envisage Social Cinema in much the same way (for the record, the Headmaster said that Film Club wouldn’t be popular, because everyone watches DVDS at home. He apologised when it turned out to be the most popular club in school with a waiting list!). Anyway, today, I have acquired a large projector from Freecycle, so am getting excited that this idea might actually work! Thank you Streetbank for inspiring me to do something!

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في January 6 2015 Brian Lowe قال:

Set up Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. It will make you street a safer, happier and healthier place . It will also enable you to know your neighbours better and perhaps make new friends. You canget help , advice and access to lots of resources from www.ourwatch.ork.uk I did more than 15 years ago and never regretted it

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في January 6 2015 Sara Nathan قال:

In some areas, though not near me yet, there is a concept called Casserole Club which facilitates people to cook an extra portion of whatever they are making for dinner and then take it round to someone isolated/elderly/both. It seems to be very successful in helping with loneliness among the isolated: https://www.casseroleclub.com/

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في January 6 2015 Sam Nic, Tess, Alice & Rachel قال:

Thanks so much for all these ideas… We’ve had more by email – one person is giving free tutoring to a neighbour on their estate up to their English GCSE. Another person is organising a craft circle. All good fun.
To Emma’s point… If you are organising a baked potato pot lucker (or in fact any event) we’d say the only way is through old school invitation drops or better still door knocking.

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في January 6 2015 Sara Nathan قال:

How about becoming a play street with the Playing Out concept? we close our street to traffic for two hours, one Saturday afternoon a month and the children come out to play safely – who knew there were so many? Plus the grown-ups – whether parents or not – come out for a cup of tea, a scone or a piece of cake. http://playingout.net/ . Some councils, including ours in Ealing, are very supportive. It’s not difficult to do. Ours grew out of the Big Lunch street parties and has been running just over a year so far.

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في January 2 2015 David Stoker قال:

Janette -in case this helps, two good ways to start helping an older person:by joining Age UK as a befriender, and joining Good Gym where an elderly person becomes your “coach” and you help them with practical tasks. (Both need an adult DBS check but it’s pretty easy).

PS yes to Give and Take event – stops fly tipping and I’ve got some great stuff at these events. http://www.wiseuptowaste.org.uk/reuse/give-and-take-days

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في December 30 2015 Calina Kemp قال:

Perhaps we could have an informal gathering at the pub to further these ideas and dates etc as face to face is always better than electronic comms…

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في December 30 2015 Lucy Sheppard قال:

I pick up litter along our street and put it in the bin/recycling.

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في December 29 2015 Janette Gillies قال:

There are a lot of elderly who live alone with no one to visit or talk to. To spend some time with them chatting, giving them comfort or simply showing them that someone cares would mean the world to them. We may find ourselves in that position some day. Regards Jan

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في December 29 2015 emma fraser قال:

Great idea, Sam…
I especially like the shared Baked Potato meal…
is there any way to include those without access to the internet (elderly living alone, perhaps?)
Look forward to hearing more –