How to make our community more resilient

In a column in the Ham&High, Stephen Taylor, Forum vice chair, wrote that compassion can help to build resilience in our community and make it stronger.

The full text is below

The times are tough now, just getting tougher,” sang Bruce Springsteen in 1983, and it has never seemed truer. With climate change accelerating, the economy stagnating, and pandemic memories still fresh, the Neighbourhood Forum has been thinking about resilience.

Resilience is our ability to survive hard knocks. Some of that is infrastructure. We’re revising the Neighbourhood Plan to encourage solar panels, heatpumps and to improve wildlife corridors. But, as we all learned in the pandemic, resilience is also about looking out for each other when services we are used to relying on, whether public or private, simply can’t cope. Public service provisions have been falling for years and there is no reason to expect improvement anytime soon.

At its core, the challenge is to our compassion; to our willingness to help those around us simply because they need it. The lockdown revealed that our willingness is very great. Greater perhaps, than we had all supposed.

Neighbours and local tradesmen: sociologists call these connections weak social ties’ and say they matter to our wellbeing far more than we realise. The eyes on the street” do more to keep public spaces safe than police patrols ever could. And while emergency hospital admissions in Somerset rose over 28%, the Compassionate Frome Project saw admissions in the town drop 14%; while county healthcare costs rose 21%, in Frome they fell 21%. Loneliness matters.

If initiatives such as Compassionate Communities focus on physical health, it’s perhaps because health outcomes are clearly measured. Much harder to measure is the sense of wellbeing you get from being greeted in the street. It’s far from planning and infrastructure issues, but that sense of being at home is part of the better village for walking around in that residents asked for when we held our very first public consultations.

What to do? We can all help create the world we want to live in. Look for the people around you who would get a lift from a nod, a smile, or a hello. And conversations — they open new worlds!

Up next Sustainable buildings: why and how? Forum presents rationale and options for making Hampstead's houses more sustainable Revision of Neighbourhood Plan presses ahead Alex Nicoll provided an update in a column in the Ham&High.
Latest posts Forum submits Neighbourhood Plan to Camden Survey shows strong support for changes to Neighbourhood Plan Making Victorian houses more energy efficient Forum has serious concerns about Camden street plans Retrofitting: options discussed at Forum workshop Forum holds 2024 annual general meeting Consultation on draft revised Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan is under way Please comment on the draft Neighbourhood Plan Forum will hold AGM on 12 March 2024 Making a Victorian house sustainable Enhancing biodiversity in Hampstead Forum publishes initial draft of revised Neighbourhood Plan Schoolchildren have their say on Hampstead Revision of Neighbourhood Plan presses ahead How to make our community more resilient Sustainable buildings: why and how? How older homes can be made more energy-efficient NO2 emissions have been reduced, but not enough Air monitoring project shows fall in NO2 pollution in Hampstead Forum will hold AGM on 21 March 2023 Balancing new technology and Hampstead's heritage Forum launches public consultation on revising Neighbourhood Plan Retail closures raise question over health of local high street areas Help to map Hampstead's hedgehogs Shopfronts should suit surroundings Forum supports South End Green changes Flood strategy should take account of basements, Forum says Air quality project nears completion Planning: core of our work Annual meeting hears briefing on planning, air quality Forum’s high streets survey