You’ll probably start seeing large vinyl banners like this appearing all over Birmingham – 800 of them in all! And this isn’t just some sort of PR stunt. It’s based on a big partnership, including Birmingham Civic Society, with members invited to take part by putting up a banner in their locality and, if you’re connected to a local charity, potentially by hosting one of dozens of As One tea party events from the Spring.
The banners, measuring 2m x 0.8m, and also a 1m x 1m version, are available free of charge, and they help both spread an important message and demonstrate the host organisation’s participation in the campaign.
Then, if you’re connected to a local charity, community centre, school or faith group, how about introducing the idea of hosting an As One tea party event? You use the increasingly well-known brand to invite local streets and make sure to reserve a table for each street invited, so that near neighbours sit together. Then (with full guidance and suggested talks supplied), it’s explained to local residents how they could form an ongoing Street Association just for their street, putting on things like a Christmas party for kids, a quiz night, picnic or, of course, a Platinum Jubilee street party! That helps the street to have a permanent legacy from the campaign, with loads of neighbours getting to know each other, friendliness breaking out and neighbourly help being offered to those who might need it. The Street Association idea has been pioneered in Birmingham over 10 years and there are lovely examples of streets that have completely changed as a result of starting one.
If you’d like to consider hosting an As One tea party event, please email Rachel Adkins at email@example.com and ask for an Event Pack. This will give full briefing and also details of the leaflets, letterhead and other materials supplied for free to help you put on the event. If you’d like to display a banner, please also contact Rachel.
The pandemic showed us how important community spirit can be. It also showed us how enjoyable it can be to see neighbourly connections, kindness and support flourish. As we move into a new phase, let’s try and build on that experience of community and give it legs to last!
An update from Martin Graham – Founder, As One and Street Associations.
Two years ago, we – along with the whole world – were hit by a pandemic, the like of which we have not experienced in our lifetimes. We responded with a level of fear – yes – but also with a determination to help those who needed it and to be there for one another – briefly to become family, as it were – with those who shared the same street. WhatsApp groups flourished and many of us together stood on our doorsteps and poured out our thanks to the NHS for playing its crucial part with such courage and devotion.
Now, as we slowly emerge from Covid, there is ‘blowing in the wind’ a shared memory of how, briefly, we were one, how we were part of the same story and therefore somehow part of each other.
But in that memory lies a challenge. Will we let the advance we saw – for it was a huge advance for our shared humanity – will we let it fall away, like autumn leaves that have had their day? Or will we conclude that there is something which we rediscovered that is too good – too important – to let slip silently away?
If so, it will require ordinary people like you and me to say, “we must build on the concern, the love, the new connections, the spirit of oneness that was, and is, of such value”. That is the challenge. My request, my urging, is that today we dedicate ourselves afresh to building a new unity, street-by-street; and make that oneness part of the inheritance we pass on to the next generation. We can do this!