The Resurgence of Community Spirit
I went to a table top sale yesterday. Nothing unusual in that except that this one was held in our immediate neighbourhood known as the Six Streets and was the first of its kind in what is known as a reasonably affluent area. Not every house had a table outside but the whole area took on a party atmosphere with balloons and bunting adorning the railings and tables and people bringing chairs into the street so that business could be done in comfort ! The front gardens of two of the larger houses became street cafes for the afternoon where delicious home made cakes etc could be bought, for the fee for a table was £5 and a home made cake ,with the profits going to charity and the stall holders could choose to either keep their proceeds or split them with the charity.
The whole area was soon crowded with people not just from the immediate neighbourhood but from further afield. Children going excitedly from stall to stall in search of new(different) toys and older people taking advantage of the chairs to sit and socialise. Neighbours who because of their busy work/life schedules were now finding time to get to know one another by name not just by the house number . It was, as one very senior resident said, reminiscent of wartime when everyone pulled together. Who would have guessed that the tall man round the corner was such a talented artist or the quiet ,unassuming woman who lives alone was an expert soft toy and jewellery maker.
At the end of the afternoon the event was considered by all to have been a great success. Children went home happy with their new(!) toys, fledging friendships were started and stall holders , by recycling some of their unwanted possessions , had made a little profit. Home made cakes were eaten with relish and one neighbour was even giving away surplus fruit from the garden and charity benefitted from the stallholders fees but the greatest bonus of all was the strengthening of the sense of community and the coming together of all sections of the neighbourhood. Further events are being planned and I for one can't wait to repeat the experience. If the present tough economic have contributed to the event and made people more aware of recycling and sharing then we must look at it in a positive light. We cannot solve the world's debt crisis but we can do our very small bit and enrich our lives and those of our neighbours in more ways than one.