These are some notable projects that Streets Alive is currently running.
All Ages Neighbours' Campaign
Neighbours are key to less isolation
Streets Alive has found that being friendly with neighbours can reduce isolation and loneliness of all generations in streets.
As a result Streets Alive is developing a Neighbours’ Campaign to be trialled in Bristol in 2014/15. This would include the many activities that residents who have held street meets have found that helps residents of all ages to have a low level of contact from time to time – to be friendly but not necessarily friends.
Chris Gittins, the Director and founder of Streets Alive said ‘Neighbours are a critical piece of the jigsaw of our social fabric of where we live. With us living less local lives we have to be proactive and can’t rely on bumping into people.’
The launch of The Silver Line and recent reports by the Campaign to End Loneliness about the high level of loneliness of older people would suggest that this is unique to older people.
But at the same time research by the Prince's Trust suggests that ‘more than a third of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 do not feel part of their local community’.
Streets Alive’s work in streets over 12 years suggests that it is our mobile and diverse lifestyles that are resulting in loneliness of all generations. So we have to find new ways of social living.
Meeting neighbours has to be the starting point, and this is why our experience of neighbours' street meets can help.
Free Street SwapShop kits
We are offering free SwapShop kits that help residents to exchange things, to help eachother or to team up to take action in their communities after street parties.
The common things include pet support, taking post or watering plants while away. But our system encourages residents to be more ambitious and follow examples such as street DVD 'library', sharing trips to school, setting up play or babysitting circles, or even car sharing.
We are developing the kits with residents in Bristol, London and Devon.
More information is available here http://www.streetparty.org.uk/neighbours/ .
Promoting adult support for play in Bristol Play Day
We are supporting informal play in streets during Play Day on Wed 3rd August in Bristol with the City Council Play Services. The aim is to show how streets can be safely used for kids to play together for a couple of hours right outside their door.
This follows our work over the last 2 years when we supported street parties to see how adults, not just parents, can develop a more positive attitude to play in the safety of the closed street.
On the day we provided a Street Play Kit to encourage play by children and with adults. Afterwards we again carried out house to house surveys to ask adults about their thoughts.
In a total of 11 streets 358 (54%) of 664 households were surveyed after the street parties. The results showed the following positive results:
In response to the question 'Compared to before the street party, how do you feel about children playing in the street at other times?' 39% said they were 'More happy about children's play in the street'.
Also, in response to the question 'Would you now be interested in supporting play in your street or elsewhere in the neighbourhood?' 18% said 'Yes, I would volunteer' and 56% said 'Maybe I would help sometimes'.
This project was in partnership with the council Play Services and funded by the Dept. for Education on the Play Watch theme.
Promoting cycling through street parties
Bristol is the leading National Demonstration City and Streets Alive joined in by supporting 12 street parties to which the Council's cycling advisers attend. Residents had the chance to have a go on a bike, chat about their worries about cycling, get tips on routes to work etc. as well as cycle maintenance.
Afterwards all houses in the streets were visited for face to face conversations about cycling in the city.
The project showed that street parties are a good way of engaging residents in the relaxing atmosphere of their traffic-free street right on their doorsteps. The main results were that in 12 street parties 387 residents (60of % households) were engaged and 71% were non- or occasional cyclists. Activities offered included Dr Bike repairs, bike checks, cycling information and fun races.
The project built on Streets Alives' experience of showing how street parties can be a very effective way of engaging residents on greener travel options.