For over 10 years, Up Our Street focused on bringing local residents together and building connection and resilience in our neighbourhood through personal interactions. We believe that strong communities are formed when neighbours know neighbours, where people speak and interact with those around them, and when they come together in a shared space with a shared interest.
COVID-19 has turned this on its head. We have been told to stay inside, to distance ourselves and to only come close to those we already know. This message is completely contradictory to everything we have focused our efforts on up until now and we need to rethink our entire approach.
Since March when we had to close Easton Community Centre and Felix Road Adventure Playground to the public, we have been focusing on our emergency response. Helping those who most need it with direct doorstep support. As lockdown eases and more of us return to some kind of ‘new normal’ our team is beginning to go back to work which had been paused.
Like many others, we are looking at what we offer and how we can adapt our work to support our local community. Easton Community Centre is open for the public and we are taking bookings but so far things have been quiet. We hope this doesn’t last as we need the local community to support the centre.
In September we are trialling our first digital community meeting, offering local residents the chance to listen to and pose questions of some of our key city leaders. Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig will be sharing some of the important developments to have happened since coronavirus. The pace of change has been frantic and it will be a good chance to grab two hours of their time to hear more and how it applies to our neighbourhood. We will also be hearing from the lead Public Health officer about local outbreak plans for our city.
We don’t believe that the world of zoom and online meetings will replace our need for human interaction and we are certainly planning for how we can get back to bringing the community together safely. In the meantime, we invite you to join us on 16 September for your chance to hear from those who make decisions in our city.