We work hard to create communities in the buildings we look after. It can be lonely living in an apartment when you don’t know your neighbours and there are no shared social spaces.
One of the ways we do this is using private Facebook Groups so people can come together, borrow a cup of sugar, swap things they no longer need or beg for the loan of a parking space for a visiting family member. This year more than ever these groups have enabled people to support each other when lonely, swap jigsaws and do shopping for each other when someone is alone or isolating.
Last month we noticed on one of our sites Facebook groups that they were having an excited chat about decorating the communal areas for Christmas and we looked on with our Block Management hat on seeing fire risk, trip hazards and a remit to keep communal spaces clear. But, also we try to look at things from the point of view of “What can we do to help?”
We looked at the location, checked the fire regs, sourced a spot in a wide open area next to fire detection and smoke extraction system, ensured it was nowhere near a corridor, or whether it might be a trip hazard if it fell over. We then talked to the Directors of the Resident’s Management Company and together they decided that an artificial tree would be funded from the service charge. We ordered this and delivered last week and the nominated leaseholders in charge of Christmas put up a spreadsheet asking for volunteers to decorate, put up, take down, make decorations etc. Together their decorations have been added, made with coffee sacks from a resident who works for a coffee firm and twigs from another residents allotment and the sewing skills of many willing volunteers.
We did a site visit today and there is the tree looking cheery in the atrium. A wonderful testament to looking a little further than a blanket “No”, assessing what can be done and what the boundaries are, and creating a community that want to work together. Perfect.