There’s still a place for caring and sharing

COMMUNITY spirit is, it seems, alive and well – at least in Stevenage Old Town. When a woman in her 90s in the area was conned by some rogue traders, not only did her eagle-eyed neighbours see there was a problem and call the police, but they also got tog

COMMUNITY spirit is, it seems, alive and well - at least in Stevenage Old Town.

When a woman in her 90s in the area was conned by some rogue traders, not only did her eagle-eyed neighbours see there was a problem and call the police, but they also got together to rectify damage done to the lady's garden.

It's a nice story because it shows not only people helping out an elderly lady who was presumably left a bit shaken up by the incident, but also that neighbours do still look out for each other.

Because generally there is, sadly, an undeniable trend across society to strive towards privacy - it seems to be the goal of modern life to get inside our houses and shut ourselves away from the physical world around us.


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How many of us are good friends with our neighbours, how many of us actually make time for more than a cursory hello?

As we move more towards our individual privacy, we become less and less involved in the wider community.

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It's not fair to solely blame commuters but the truth is many move into towns or villages purely for their proximity to railway stations and have no particular desire to be part of the fabric of the place.

All too often as a newspaper we get appeals from community groups about to fold because there aren't enough volunteers to run them - people simply aren't prepared to give up their time for the good of their home town any more.

Ironically, while people move away from the community around them, more and more of us are connected to a wider world through the internet.

We seem reluctant to communicate with the people in our street or town but perfectly happy to reveal intimate details about ourselves on a website.

I actually get on well with my neighbours, and from the moment I moved in felt very welcome and part of a little community of people who do look out for each other.

I'd hate to live in the kind of road where neighbours didn't know each other's names or ever really take the time to stop and chat.

A loss of community spirit means more than just the loss of someone to run the local youth group, although that kind of thing is important.

Internet friends are all very well and good but it is the people who live near you who will, hopefully, notice anyone loitering with intent around your house, who will feed the cat when you're on holiday, who will lend you the proverbial cup of sugar when you run out, just as you would for them.

More than that, being part of the community gives you a sense of belonging in a way that chatting in cyberspace can never do, as far as I can see.

The world outside our front doors is our home, just as much as the bricks and mortar we rent or own.

There are all kinds of people out there and all manner of experiences to be had, if we only look.

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