WE all use the word ‘community’, but what does it actually mean today?
I still remember the days of unlocked doors, knowing everyone who lived around me and the whole neighbourhood coming out to play rounder’s on the green in summer.
As kids we respected our elders, mainly because they all told us off, regardless of whose parent they were. The elderly were cared for by the whole village and never a day went by that you didn’t speak to someone.
Today’s community seems to be lost. All of us isolated in our own little worlds and every so often dipping our foot into community waters. Never getting in too deep. Too many people, living alone and never engaging with another person, for days on end.
I am not sure that I want my children to have this as their memories of ‘community’ growing up.
Many people do immense good for the community and I thank them, but we all need to do our part. We all sit and moan about what we do and don’t like, yet very few want to do anything about it.
Luckily, those who are taking the plunge and immersing themselves totally in community spirit will benefit us all. Carnival committees, local residents’ associations, youth leaders and so on, are trying to better all our lives.
I see so many wonderful community ideas online but they are rarely put into action; whether this is because of a lack of support or know-how, I don’t know, but there are many organisations and companies willing to help.
Yarlington Housing Group has an amazing community team. It will help anyone with a community idea and can offer support and advice to get it started.
Local residents’ associations work behind the scenes of our communities to ensure everyone has a voice and local events and issues can be addressed. Even your local councillor will give you advice and possibly help.
I love social media and the online communities they have been created, but I do not want them to take over from the reality of the world we live in. I know my immediate neighbours and that is all, to my shame. How many do you really know?
Could many of the antisocial problems we see daily be solved by bringing back tighter communities?
The old ski slope in Yeovil has been left abandoned for a long time now, yet social media groups are rife with ideas for its use. But nothing goes forward, always stagnation.
We have seen recently in the Winter Olympics, how one woman from Somerset used her local facilities and, with local support, achieved an amazing goal. Will this become a thing of the past?
With funds becoming harder to get and fewer people in the community willing to drive new ideas and pull everyone together, are we destined for a society where we live among each other, but still live alone?
Do you want to be 75 and living in a house knowing none of your neighbours and never speaking to a soul? I do not want my children to think community is just an address, I want them to realise the true meaning that it used to have.
The recent floods that have traumatised so many lives have shown us communities truly pulling together. Not just to help those immediately affected but offering far reaching assistance who all pool resources and send with people helping in any way they can.
I have been filled with tears at the generosity being shown, not just financial but with practical offers of help. The people affected will never forget this support they have been shown and although this does not change their situation, I hope it gives them a little comfort to know we are all behind them, however we can be.
We can all help our communities in our own way. You cannot have ‘community’ without ‘unity’ and we need to start to change the direction we have been going and get back to basics.