Fine City Neighbours is about building relationships with people before you need them, and they need you. Sometimes this is called ‘community’, sometimes ‘neighbourliness’, and sometimes ‘Mutual Aid’ or ‘Solidarity’. Whatever it’s called, we didn’t invent it- being a good neighbour has been around ever since people have existed.
We launched a website, FineCityNeighbours.com, in January, with advice, guidance and inspiration for connecting with our neighbours and communities, as well as links to more direct support for those who need it. We also delivered 50,000 postcards to houses in Norwich letting people know about Fine City Neighbours.
Fine City Neighbours began as a project to celebrate the spirit of neighbourliness that has supported Norwich residents and kept our collective spirits up, through the national lockdowns over the last year and beyond. We wanted to explore and encourage the creative ways city residents have stayed connected, while physically apart, throughout the crisis. However, research has shown that much of this activity has relied on digital technology, like using neighbourhood WhatsApp groups, which creates a barrier for people who don’t have the digital skills or resources they need to participate.
Our latest campaign is asking Norwich residents to display a poster in their window, which lets their neighbours know that someone is there to help, if they need it. The poster can be downloaded for free from the Fine City Neighbours website. The poster aims to inspire Norwich neighbours to find ways to support one another, over the phone or over the fence, whether that is by talking someone through the process of listening to a podcast, making a video call, or joining their regular coffee morning which has moved online during the pandemic.
We’re not here to tell anyone what to do, or how to do it, but there are loads of great resources out there worth reading and sharing and we’ve gathered a few of them on our website. We hope you find it helpful. You don’t need anyone’s permission to be a Fine City Neighbour, but if you need any help, we’re here.