Colwood’s Good Neighbour program is a resident-led effort to help neighbours connect and support one another, and to build a resilient neighbourhood. This is achieved by encouraging residents to get to know each other, largely through activities organized by you, a Neighbourhood Program leader.
- Good Neighbour Hand Out
- Neighbourhood Emergency Plan/Emergency Resource List
- Pandemic Plan
- Community Group Partners:
What is the role of a Good Neighbour Leader?
Good Neighbour Leaders are responsible for making the initial contact with the neighbourhood. Introduce your neighbours to the idea of the Good Neighbour Program and invite them outside for an activity. At the first meeting you can see who else might be interested in planning, and you can organize the next activity together. You are not responsible for all future events. Once you get to know each other, you can encourage someone else to take the reins. Note: activities are meant to be fun, light-hearted, and minimal stress. Do what works best for you.
How do I reach out to my neighbours for the first time?
If you don’t have their phone numbers, the best way is to simply go door-to-door. Meeting face-to-face is an effective way to tell them about the project and they will be much more likely to attend if they know who’s inviting them. Bring a set of flyers/invitations with you so you can hand one to each neighbour (Covid-safely) or leave one under the door if they’re not home.
What kind of activity should I organize?
This is completely up to you, but you should consider your preferences, your time availability to organize, and options for gathering space. For the most part, these events can be free, low time-investment, and stress free. For instance, you can invite your neighbours to bring their chairs and their coffee to your front lawn on Saturday morning. Simple as that. As you get to know each other, you can recruit others to help you with activities and get more creative based on the group’s interests.
How many people should I invite?
It depends on your comfort level, the activity, and your housing environment. If you live on a street of single-family homes, you can start with inviting two or three households on either side, or maybe the whole block. Keep in mind, it is easier to make connections with others when the group has a minimum of 5, and a maximum of about 50 people. If you live in a condo or apartment, invite everyone in your building to meet in an outside common area or nearby park.
How long do I have to commit to the role of Good Neighbour Leader?
Only as long as you would like. Once you meet others on your block, you can take turns organizing events, or do it together. After the first few meetings, if you no longer want to act as leader, make an open call to your group to find a replacement. Remember, the activities do not need much pre-planning or coordination; If you’d like to keep them simple, please do so!
What if I don’t like one of my neighbours?
We are all humans in need of social connection. If you invite enough people to the activity, you won’t need to interact too much with that individual. He or she may find a friend in someone else. What is important is not to exclude anybody. Some people may not wish to participate, but everyone deserves to, at least, be asked. If someone refuses, keep trying, perhaps they will join for the next activity.
What if one of my neighbours complains about people gathering on the street?
Be respectful of other residents’ need to use the street. Be courteous by choosing appropriate times for gatherings, pay attention to noise levels, and restrict use of alcohol. Inform your neighbours ahead of time so they are prepared for the event. If they are unhappy with the gathering, ask them what kind of activity that they would like to see on their block.
I’m already part of a Block watch group. How do existing neighbourhood groups coincide with the Good Neighbour Program project?
If you’re already a leader or participant of another neighbourhood group... Perfect! The hard part is done. You already know, or at least have the contact information, of most of your neighbors. Now, you can go one step beyond “block security” and get to know each other. Invite your Block Watch group (and others on your block) to a gathering on your street!
Do I get any monetary reimbursement from the City for my efforts?
Currently the City is not offering any materials or grants for activities, but they are looking to expand the project if there is community interest. Therefore, choose activities that are within your time and financial resources, or coordinate with others on your block to share any expenses. That said, many activities are doable with whatever you have lying around the house!
What if I want to close the street for an event on my block?
If you would like to close the street for your activity, you will need approval from the City and receive appropriate signage. Click here to learn more about planning a block party.