|Sharing The Love in West Ealing|
150 days of community
West Ealing often features on Ealing Today - but not always in a good light.
A unique project is currently underway in the area which may change that.
Chris Gilson from West Ealing Neighbours explains '150 days of community':
On the 14th of February, West Ealing Neighbours launched its latest project for our local area, something that we've dubbed '150 days of community'.
There seems to be a lot of concern about the bad things of our community, such as crime, and the relative decline of the high street. So, realising that a lot of people see West Ealing in a negative light, and whether or not those reasons are real or imagined, we wanted to show everyone the great things that are going on within our community.
Our inspiration comes from Harvard Professor Robert Putnam’s ideas about social capital. In 2000, he penned the influential book, Bowling Alone, in which he catalogued the decline of public and political involvement in both local and national settings in the US. We thought that with all the discussion of falling voter turnout, the decline of our high streets and economic recession, it was time to really see how much social capital still exists in our community, and how much we might be able to encourage.
Putnam had developed a fantastic resource – 150 different things that people can do to improve social capital in their communities. We’ve adapted these for a West Ealing audience and have turned it into ‘150 days of community’ for West Ealing.
Over a period of 22 weeks, we’ll be encouraging people to send us their stories of the good things that they do every week that make West Ealing just a little bit better a place to live and to work. We’re helping people along by suggesting seven ‘acts of community’ that they can do each week – anything from smiling at a neighbour to donating blood, to joining a gardening club.
We’re not just collecting people’s stories for the sake of it. We want to gather a record of community in West Ealing that people can look to for both inspiration and information. Inspiration from the great things that their neighbours and friends are doing, and information about the kinds of things that there are to do locally.
We’re not 100 percent sure what our final product will be, though we are currently collecting people’s stories and words on the West Ealing neighbours blog. At this stage, we’d like to try and produce some kind of display showing everything that people have submitted – something that could go into West Ealing library for a time so that everyone can see what’s been produced. Maybe it could be a model for other parts of London to collect their own ‘acts of community’?
Our project is now into its fourth week, and people in West Ealing have really taken to it. People have told us about local events like ban dances and curry and quiz nights. They’ve let us know about school fundraisers and gardening groups that they’ve begun. We’re really just getting started, and are looking forward to hearing from many more locals about the great things that they do in our community.
At the moment, there are a few ways that you can let us know your ‘acts of community’:
Send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Write on our Facebook wall - https://www.facebook.com/groups/124290860921562/
Tweet at us – @WENeighbours
It’s easy to get in touch and let us know your own ‘acts of community’. We’d love to hear from you!
12th March 2014