When you move into a new property, think about the things that attracted you to the area. Is it tidy with well-cared for gardens? Do people living in the neighbourhood seem to know each other? Do you get a friendly smile in passing from your neighbours? Is there an obvious sense of community?
As a tenant in a rental property, you may be aware of your obligations to maintain your property to a good level, but have you considered putting a bit of time into the maintenance of your neighbourhood too? Brighton and Hove is full of vibrant, friendly and well cared for neighbourhoods, all created by the people that live there.
Below are our 5 tips to maintaining positive relationships with your neighbours:
1. Say Hello!
This may seem like an obvious one to some, but it really can make all the difference in the community. When moving into a new property, it can be nice to go and knock on the doors of your immediate neighbours and say hello, you never know what useful bits of information they can give you like what time the postman tends to come, or which local café does the best coffee!
If you are not keen on the idea of knocking, perhaps a friendly note, or card? Local initiative Know My Neighbour offers some great postcards that you can use to say hello in order to reduce social isolation and strengthen connections in communities.
Saying hello when passing your neighbours in the street is also a great way to encouraging a strong sense of community. It may seem like a simple gesture to you, but could have a hugely positive impact on your neighbour.
2. Shop Local
Are there any local businesses in your area that would benefit from your custom? It is always a great idea to shop locally wherever possible as it can have huge benefits for the local economy creating jobs in the area and thriving local businesses contribute to a vibrant community identity.
Often, local business owners also live in the area too so it is a great way to get chatting to your neighbours as they provide a more personal service to you.
3. Get Involved
A great way to add to the sense of community in your neighbourhood is to get involved through local events, volunteering opportunities or through community meetings and schemes. Most areas have a residence group that can be a great source of information, or just browsing community noticeboards in local libraries and cafes can give you an idea of what is going on in the area.
If you are looking to volunteer, Brighton and Hove Community Works is a great place to look for opportunities in the area.
Gestures as simple as contributing a cake to a local bake sale, or attending a community street party in your area are effective ways to get to know those living around you and build links in your neighbourhood.
4. Keep it clean
It goes without saying that not many people would like to live in an area that looks messy and unkempt so it is important for each resident to do their bit to ensure that the neighbourhood looks nice. When moving into a new property, make sure you know about the refuse and recycling collection dates and how you are expected to dispose of rubbish in your area as living in a city by the sea runs the risk of seagulls getting to rubbish left out for too long!
If you live in a neighbourhood with well-tended front gardens, it may be an idea to keep your own garden nice to contribute to the look of the area, and if you are not particularly green fingered, it may be an opportunity to get chatting with neighbours for advice!
If you would really like to get your area looking clean and can give a little more time, how about getting involved in a bigger clean up event such as the Great British Spring Clean?
5. Bring people together!
As we all live busy lives, you may find that you have moved into a neighbourhood in which residents do not tend to engage with each other a lot through friendly chat or community events. If you do have a little bit of time to give and want to generate relationships between neighbours in your area, how about putting on your own events or projects that bring people together?
Something as simple as a quiz in a local pub or café, or a book club, or if you want to go all out a street party for you and your neighbours? You may find that the time and effort put in could make a huge difference to a lot of people in the area as they get to know each other and perhaps feel a little less isolated.
This blog post was contributed by University of Sussex Housing Services.