Making Your Neighbourhood a Nicer Place
It’s easy to complain about the neighbours, but if you want to live in a great neighbourhood, make like Gandhi and try being the change that you want to see! If you want to make the area in which you live a nicer place, there are a few little things you can do personally to make it brighter, prettier and happier... and none of them involve court orders or litigation!
Be the Neighbourhood WombleThat’s right – Womble up your rubbish (and other people’s) and put it in the bin! It’s a sad fact of life that wherever you live there’s likely to be the detritus of other people’s lifestyles lying around for all to enjoy. If rubbish and mess gets on your nerves, you know that the council won’t clear it up, so do it yourself!
It’s not the nicest job, and nobody is suggesting you pick up anything dirty, messy or downright unhygienic. But for the sake of a few minutes, why not dispose of the annoying crisp packet caught in your neighbour’s hedge for them, pick up the empty wrappers along the road, and feel smug that you’ve tidied up your bit.
Plant somethingIt’s been proved that plants and living things can actually change your mood and health, so green up your corner of the neighbourhood and plant something.
Just a small shrub or two, a tree or a window box outside your home can brighten up the area, and you’ll feel better for providing something nice to look at, too.
Get to Know your neighboursThis one’s a tricky one, as to be fair, most of us live solitary lives where our home is very much our castle and a place to retreat. But we are not solitary creatures and it’s worth making some effort to Get To Know Your Neighbours if you want to feel at home in your neighbourhood.
It’s not all about holding a housewarming and inviting a group of strangers. Try a hello as you pass the old lady down the road. If you've queuing at the newsagent, have a chat with the woman a few doors down. Don’t automatically ignore trick or treaters or carol singers – stop and chat to them, talk to the parents and you could make a new friend. You never know when you’ll need a house sitter, or appreciate a hand with something.
If you See Something, Say SomethingThis extends from reporting the faulty street light (well, somebody has to do it, and it may as well be you) to joining the local Homewatch Scheme, where you will be encouraged to keep an eye out for anything unusual, but also have an opportunity to get to know some of your neighbours. Being vigilant also extends to Looking Out For Elderly And Vulnerable Residents In Bad Weather, and not being afraid to call round and see if they need anything.
It also covers Problem Neighbours. If you spot someone doing something they shouldn’t, tell the appropriate authorities. You don’t have to put up with illegal activities going on under your nose. You can say or do something about it and you can bet that the rest of the decent, law-abiding neighbours will thank you for it.
Use your Local ShopsThe local shop has been rather overtaken by the big supermarket in recent years. People in small towns and villages complain that their neighbourhoods are dying, but if you don’t use it, you lose it, so support your local shops wherever possible and encourage others to do the same.
Local stores can be more expensive than massive retailers but you don’t just get the product, you get to speak to someone who has the time to talk, get advice and recommendations, and service from a retailer who actually cares about their community because they are part of it.