What to look for when seeking a local sense of community?

(11 Posts)
Closetlibrarian Wed 27-Jul-16 10:55:30

If you're looking to move to a new area, which you don't know well, how can you tell if it'll have a good sense of community?

We're struggling with the lack of community in an area we moved to recently. Prior to this we lived somewhere that we unexpectedly ended up being part of a great community, with lots going on locally and lots of like-minded folk, and we really miss that. We're dying a bit inside where we live now. We thought that we'd find 'our people' here, but we really haven't and it's making us really fed up.

But, I'm wary of upping sticks again and taking a punt on somewhere and making another mistake. But we want to make the move now (before DC start school) and don't want to have to move again until DC leave home. So it's got to be the 'right' place...

summersunshineaddict Wed 27-Jul-16 15:05:35

Walk around the area and see if people say hello and say hello to others or just ignore you with heads down. You could also look at what local events happen (if any).

I come from an area with a real community spirit and people say hello to each other whether they know you or not and there are a lot of local events going on. There are also strong local independent shops (not sure whether that is an indicator or not but it would imply people locally care about supporting them as opposed to popping to supermarkets)

Piemernator Wed 27-Jul-16 15:13:22

People say hello to each other here and teens move out of the way on the path. The one thing this areas is that most I have lived in isn't is that it's poor. The actual road I live in isn't but in the market town I live in there are only around 10 roads that have expensive housing in them.

minipie Wed 27-Jul-16 16:27:26

Visit at the weekend and see if there are lots of people around and about on the high street, or do they all go somewhere else

Visit at school gate time and see if people are chatting or drop and run

Try saying hello to a few people and see how they respond. You could even try asking them how the community is smile

Are you looking for a place that is just friendly, or do you want a specific kind of person (you talk about "our people" and "like minded" which suggests the latter) If you want to live near lots of people who share your opinions and lifestyle then that will narrow it down quite a lot more. Where did you live that had the great community what I really mean is what sort of people are you

CMOTDibbler Wed 27-Jul-16 16:37:10

Depends what you mean by sense of community I guess. I live in a teeny town where people smile and say hello, loads of independent shops with chatty owners, everyone turns out to local events and so on. Dh and I are both involved in voluntary groups and are getting to know loads of people through that.
But are they 'my people'? Well, no. But I enjoy meeting all sorts of people, from the tattooed biker who runs the sewing shop (and is the nicest lady you'll meet and a great source of info), the vicar (I'm no church goer, we chat about the dogs) and going on cycle rides led by a gent who bases them on local history features!

Fadingmemory Wed 27-Jul-16 17:37:16

I had no idea.. 4 years ago I moved from a modern cul de sac to a Victorian cul de sac with a garden in the middle. By the time I had lived in the new street for a week I had spoken to more neighbours than I had in 8 years in the former street. Different social profile. We have gatherings on the green at Christmas, mid summer and Nov 5th. People are aware of one another and any difficulties. People chat. Lots of walkers and bike riders. We don't just get into cars and drive away. Can't envisage moving.

Hufflepuffin Wed 27-Jul-16 20:22:46

Go to the parish hall or library and see what posters are up for groups.

bojorojo Wed 27-Jul-16 20:48:00

Be careful about what you wish for. We thought we had moved to a great little village and enjoyed meeting new people. However that was as far as it went. They are cliquey and we didn't really fit in anywhere. Wrong politics, children too different and we don't join in with the general feeling of preserving the place in aspic and a love of Victorian traditions. No modern Christmas carols here! How do you know all this before you move? It is difficult to know if there are people like you in a new area. I thought this village was what I really really wanted, but I have no friends at all.

Can you go back where you came from?

228agreenend Wed 27-Jul-16 21:22:58

Look in shop windows etc to see if there are activities being advertised.

In the area you live in, have you tried joining mother and toddler groups, sports clubs etc. Sometimes it can take a bit of effort to settle in. When your do starts school, you will need lots of people.

Closetlibrarian Thu 28-Jul-16 12:34:41

Fadingmemory that sounds like my dream! I'd love to live somewhere that has a that kind of community. Where you know (and like) your neighbours. It sounds like in your case it's come through having the central garden/square. I think well-used communal areas can be key, perhaps? Although I've lived on two housing estates, both with communal areas (gardens, etc). One had an amazing sense of community and I made lots of friends there. The other did not.

Yes, 228 we've done all that stuff. And while I've met a few people I like, they're just people to say 'hello' to and have a quick chat if we bump into each other. None of them have real 'friend' potential. Everyone else I've met I just haven't gelled with, for various reasons. We're worried we're going to continue to experience this once DC start in the local school (i.e. a few people to say 'hello' to, but no one we click with) and that it'll be a socially isolating experience for us. The local school is small too, so a smaller pool of potential friends (for us and DC).

I just want to love where I live! And we don't sad

Chillywhippet Thu 28-Jul-16 13:01:58

Are you brave enough to start a thread like

What's it like to live in Lowerbeechtown?

Or

If we loved living in Lovelyplace, where else would we like?

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