Neighbourhood News #1

As you’ve probably noticed, Street Feast is changing focus for the next while. Over the past eleven years – through encouraging neighbours to celebrate their local communities by gathering over great food – we’ve managed to build up a network of kind-hearted and proactive Street Feasters in neighbourhoods across the country.

This time of crisis is the chance to put to practice the amazing generosity of this Neighbourhood Network of Street Feasters to make sure nobody in need of help is forgotten!

We’ve designed Neighbourhood Network – a tool to help co-ordinate the people all over the country who are responding to this call. Register your existing group or sign up as a volunteer/coordinator here!

On top of that, whilst we are living in these uncertain times, Street Feast is going to do its best to promote and help coordinate the amazing efforts of grassroots community support groups all over Ireland.

Every Monday, we’ll be pulling together a newsletter that celebrates some of the wonderful stories coming from you guys, your Neighbourhood Networks, and Ireland at large!

Some Stories To Share!

We’ll start things off with a lovely story we heard from Clare Keogh over on twitter. Clare’s neighbour Scott had the idea to project classic movies for the street, with neighbours listening in through an FM signal. A real nice idea, with donations going to charity.

Our first Neighbourhood Network newsletter coincides with issue 001 of ‘The Strange Times’ – an effort by Castlebar locals to enjoy some afternoon tea with each other (from a safe distance mind).

And in Stoneybatter, Fergal Bowers spotted some Teddy Bears hanging about in windows for kids to spot while they’re out and about with their parents.

ChangeX urges people to join €1m community action plan

Last week we were delighted to be a part of the launch of ChangeX’s community action plan to help fight issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The project launched with loads of great ideas including our Neighbourhood Network project, online exercise classes for older people with Siel Bleu Ireland, growing food at home with Grow It Forward by GIY Ireland, and Foodcloud who are helping distribute food to those who need it most right now.

From an Impromptu Concert in a Stoneybatter Park, a Neighbourhood Proms Is Born

We spotted a delightful piece in the Dublin Inquirer about Camin Gilmore’s pop-up (and socially distanced) gigs in Halliday Square, Dublin. The below excerpt from the article is pretty charming – we’d encourage you to check out the whole piece!

“Halliday Square was the perfect environment for a socially distant concert, says Caimin Gilmore. It has a gate that closes, giving the musicians plenty of space.

Houses face onto the square, too, so neighbours can watch the performance from their own front doors, he says.

During that first concert, some people sipped on cups of tea while others cracked open the prosecco. “It was good craic,” he says. “I felt it really brightened up people’s day.” “

Informal volunteering matters

In Scotland’s Third Force news, Sophie Bridger wrote about how informal volunteering is critical to strengthening communities and helping those most vulnerable in our society – exactly what we’re trying to achieve with Neighbourhood Network. 

Your experiences

We love to hear how you’re getting on wherever you are in the country! Here is an account of how it’s going for Irina who runs the Stoneybatter Neighbourhood Network.

In co-creating and managing the Stoneybatter Self Isolation Help group, I have connected with over a 100 wonderful human beings in the neighborhood that will be friends for life.

I’ve heard many sincere thank you’s about simple things such as buying a carton of milk or delivering a warm dinner to a senior’s door.

The experience has helped me to realise my potential to contribute to the community and has allowed me to gain meaning from this crisis.”

Remember…

We will feast together soon! We just need to wait this out a little more.

Meanwhile, we are strengthening our communities all over the country – beginning with you, our Street Feast friends.

If you have a community group that are looking after neighbours, please register your group here.

Volunteers can apply to offer to help in their communities through our platform. Each volunteer is then assigned a team leader, who will communicate what neighbours need support in their areas. Support from groups of local volunteers could come in the form of an organised effort to provide groceries, medicine and fuel, or a simple phone call.

Together, we can ensure that neighbours who are vulnerable and self-isolating due to COVID–19 are looked after and fully supported by their communities. We can also strengthen ties and build long-lasting connections within neighbourhoods.

That’s all for now

We hope you have a good week, stay safe and mind each other from a distance!

Love,

The Neighbourhood Network Team

PS – if you’re speaking with friends or relatives online or on the phone around the country who are also helping others, do let them know about Neighbourhood Network!

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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.