Welcoming New Neighbours

Neighbours getting to know neighbours at Street Feast Dublin, 2016

Not long ago, my neighbour lent me a bottle of wine when I was in need. She wasn’t actually home so, with her permission, I let myself into her house to grab it. Although it was only 9am (don’t judge) it was the crucial ingredient for the slow-cooking stew I was serving to friends that night. I didn’t have time to get to the shops before work so I sent a quick message around to my neighbours, and voila! The lovely Mrs Graham came to my rescue.

It wasn’t until I was clambering over the back fence, pyjama clad and clutching the proverbial cup of sugar – but more wine, that I stopped and realised just how lucky I was.

I love having neighbours like this. Having them around makes the days easier and the nights less worrisome.

As I glanced down the driveway to the street I noticed a new neighbour taking in the scene before them. Shouting hello and waving madly in an effort to reassure her my wine-venture was totally above board, I could see the apprehension on her face. But what did I expect? She didn’t know me!

It goes to show how important it is to welcome new neighbours into the community. You never know what great things can come from it till you try. Even if it is just so they don’t call the guarda on you.

Here are some tips to welcome new neighbours to your hood:

 

  1. Bring them a homemade dish. Yes, it does sound very 1950s, but I would love it if somebody brought me a cake. Or muffins. Or any dessert at all actually. Keep in mind, this traditional gesture should include a list of ingredients, for all these modern-day allergies.
  2. Treat them to a local specialty. Is there a local delicacy that you can share or introduce them to? This is especially nice to do if they’re new to the area or country.
  3. Drop off your community phone directory. If you don’t yet have a directory yet, new neighbours are a good reason to start one!
  4. Make a bundle of your favorite take-away menus.You could even circle any dishes you recommend.
  5. Create a list of your local favourites. Think parks, cafes, cycling tracks and watering holes. This is a great way to get to know a new place and the information can be passed onto others easily.
  6. Deliver some home-grown produce.  If you have a bounty of vegetables, herbs and flowers growing in your backyard, why not share? It’s a lovely gesture!
  7. Bring a bottle of wine or a drink to share. Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with a bottle of wine. Even those who don’t drink might like to have it on hand for guests or to use as a gift. Or, if you think they’d welcome it, you could drop by with some drinks to share. Just be aware of their space and don’t expect an invitation to come in right away. A beer in the front garden, particularly if they’re doing some gardening, is an ideal ice-breaker.
  8. Deliver a housewarming basket.New neighbours are often in the throes of unpacking so some practical bits and pieces, such as a nice olive oil, artisan salt, pot of herbs, chopping board, etc, would be warmly welcomed.

But honestly, if you showed up empty-handed with a warm greeting, I’m sure your new neighbours will feel just as welcomed. It’s all about reaching out and making that initial connection, then it’s all down hill from there!

 

Posted in Community Building, Healthy Communities

Street Feast is a day of local lunches across Ireland hosted by you and your neighbours. They can be anywhere really - out on the street, in a local park or in your front garden.

There are lots of good reasons to have a Street Feast, but it's really just a great excuse to eat great food, celebrate your local community and meet new people who live near you.