How to create a sense of community
One of the great things about living in a residential community is the sense of community it’s possible to achieve. But it needs to be worked on. Here are a few fun ideas to get your community spirit going.
What’s more South African than having a braai? Heritage Day on September 24 is the obvious time to have an estate-wide braai involving everyone. But you can have them at other times too. What about a street or a block braai, for example, that only involves close neighbours?
Building community means getting to know more about each other. In communities with a variety of cultures, a cultural day can be a great way to achieve this. This can take the form of a cook-out with dishes from various countries, or a communal picnic with people coming dressed in clothes that reflect their culture.
Special holidays on the calendars of various religions are wonderful times to bring people together. Whether most people in your complex or estate are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or any other, why not use your special holidays to organise an event that celebrates these.
Outdoor markets that sell everything from food to bric-a-brac and unwanted baby clothes are becoming increasingly popular. Why not hold one every quarter and invite residents with hobby skills such as baking, pottery or painting to sell their goods? Enterprising kids can sell lemonade and local domestic workers may welcome the chance to buy second-hand clothing and other items.
If your estate is large enough, there may be room to walk, jog or cycle within the confines of the property. If not, arrange to meet inside the complex and then venture outside as a group – there’s safety in numbers, after all, and it’s great fun to be in the company of your neighbours. If you live in a complex with a communal swimming pool, consider organising regular water aerobics sessions.
Gardening and Nature
Every estate has residents who are itching to get back into nature at every opportunity. Set up a group of volunteers to work with the estate’s professional gardening team – giving advice, perhaps, on the most appropriate seasonal flowers to plant in specific areas or the best water-wise plants in drought-stricken regions. Or start a group that looks after the indigenous wild birds by setting up owl boxes or barbet nesting boxes.
These are just a few examples. Book clubs, scrabble or bridge clubs, art and music clubs, car boot sales – the list goes, but the goal is the same. Making an effort to build community is worth every effort and pays off with a peaceful and cohesive community. Use newsletters and Facebook to advertise and report on events.
For more stories like this, Subscribe to Estate Life Magazine for FREE.