I moved to Watford just over 3 years ago and left all my friends and family in the Midlands (my two grown up kids live in London).
The first Get Together I organised was in 2017, for the three blocks of flats I live in that shared a small green space with a large tree in the middle. At first, just me and another neighbour were sat on the grass under the tree, picnic ready. Then all the children came out bringing picnic blankets and bits of food. As a teacher, I was a little concerned as the children didn’t know me or my neighbour, but I wasn’t to worry, as they fetched their parents. Gradually other adults joined in bringing and sharing food.
It was a great diverse mix and I looked around proud that I’d brought all these people together. Some hadn’t ever spoken to a neighbour or didn’t even know who their neighbours were!
As the afternoon progressed one neighbour, who teaches the children guitar, told them to fetch their guitars and they played. A young girl who was learning traditional Indian drum joined in. Then another little girl fetched her recorder. The sing-song was thoroughly enjoyable! The adults made friends and I’ve since heard they meet-up for dinner parties and more.
Later that year, I organised a Mince Pie Moments event too. This time in my flat for all the neighbours. We talked and laughed until very late!
Sadly I left that flat when I left my husband and had to start again, but the WhatsApp group I set up is still going and I still meet up with a few old neighbours now and then.
This year I organised a Get Together soon after moving into my new flat. We have a rooftop garden so I organised a picnic up there in the summer. The landlord was so pleased to hear about it that he donated £150 and I bought pizza and refreshments. Friendships have been made and we had another Get Together at a cocktail bar in town, we also have a WhatsApp group. We are holding another cocktail night next week as it was lovely!
It’s made a real difference in our building. One neighbour was really poorly recently and we took her food and checked up on her (she lives alone). Another rescued me when a mouse was spotted in my flat.
We look out for each other now and more and more are joining the WhatsApp group. We share news of maintenance issues and offer help/support to each other as well as the social Get Togethers.
I popped round to a neighbour’s the other night and she’d already got company, another neighbour! I love that the Get Togethers bring people together. Friendships and communities are made!
It’s a fantastic idea and a lovely way to honour and to remember Jo Cox.