Keeping in contact with neighbours can be a big part of being a Neighbourhood Champion. From time to time you’ll want to gather or send out information, get support for a project, or even start a petition.
Using social media
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, you probably won’t want to go door to door every time you have something to communicate with your neighbours. Using social media can make it easier.
Here are a few points to consider when deciding whether or not to use social media, and how to make it work for you.
Around half of people over the age of 55 now have a social media account, and most people below 55 do. However, it’s worth finding out who is not online, so you can keep them informed in other ways.
About 98% of people who use social media have a Facebook account, so Facebook looks like the best option for Neighbourhood Champions.
On Facebook you have the option of setting up either a page or a group. Pages are used primarily by organisations, businesses and celebrities to feed their users or fans with a regular flow of information. Groups are a better choice where the focus is on communication between members.
To create a group, go to your home page on Facebook and select ‘Create group’ from the menu on the left hand side next to your newsfeed, then follow the instructions.
You will have 3 privacy options:
- Public – anyone can see the group, its members and their posts
- Closed – anyone can find the group and see who’s in it; only members can see posts
- Secret – only members can find the group and see posts
When creating a group for your road, the best option is probably a closed group. A public group is harder to manage, and a secret group would require you to be Facebook friends with all your neighbours to allow you to send invites, which isn’t usually practical.
Twitter can also be useful. If you have an account and follow lots of local people and organisations, you’ll receive a wealth of information about local issues and events which you can then pass onto your neighbours.
A regular newsletter could be a great way to communicate with neighbours and let them know all the interesting bits of local information you’ve picked up. It does not have to be lengthy or take ages to put together. A newsletter can be shared via Facebook, emailed around via a Google group, or printed and delivered through letterboxes. We can help you get started if you’re not sure how to go about it.
To talk to neighbours about a single issue, for example to advertise a street party or encourage more recycling, a flyer is a great option. They’re easy to create and they make sure everyone receives the message whether they’re online or not.
If you want to communicate to a wider audience, like people passing through your area, as well as those who live in it, posters are the way to go. They should be targeted to a particular issue and should not stay up for too long, otherwise they could become less effective.
Face to face
Sometimes you’ll have nothing in particular to communicate, but it’s still a great idea to talk to your neighbours whenever you get the opportunity. As Will, one of our Neighbourhood Champions, says: “Just being able to wave hello in the morning to someone you've met on the other side of the street is surprisingly gratifying, and it changes the street you live in from a row of houses into a row of people.”
So keep those lines of communication open and help make your neighbourhood a friendlier and more welcoming place to live.
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