Lead of the Week Member Stories

Lead of the Week: Martin from Pluckley, Kent

Written by Nick Lisher

We love finding places where Nextdoor has quickly become part of the fabric of a local community. Places where neighbours, groups and great local businesses are already building a strong, safe and happy neighbourhood. Pluckley, a Kentish village known as the UK’s most haunted, and the place chosen 26 years ago to film the H.E. Bates TV adaption ‘The Darling Buds of May’, featuring then unknown actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, is one such community.

Their 320 verified members, covering 48% of Pluckley’s total households, are using Nextdoor every day to raise funds for the local cricket team, share local restaurant reviews (if you’re ever passing through, stop by Elvey Farm for a bite), discuss local speed limits, organise parish assemblies and even discuss the odd Wallaby sighting.

Great neighbourhoods are built by great leads. Martin, the local Neighbourhood Watch representative and a former senior IT professional, has invited 258 people to Nextdoor, including some of the founder members of his nearby neighbourhoods. He recently organised a Nextdoor get together attended by well over 50 people in the Town Hall, which led to a successful village clean-up. I caught up with Martin to learn his secrets for neighbourly success:

How many years ago did you start doing the village clean-up?

“Over 10 years now and the average number of people getting involved each year was between 8 and 15. We posted the event as being organised by the parish council, but with the added dimension of getting the Pluckley Women’s Collective to organise tea and cakes (we had lots of cake). One of the real benefits of Nextdoor is the cross-fertilisation of different groups of people; One group advertises an event and everyone gets involved. Many people are saying how our village has its community spirit back after an absence of many years.”

Many people are saying how our village has its community spirit back after an absence of many years

When all they people arrived, how did you go about organising, so as best to make use of the volunteers?

“Although we knew we would have an increase in numbers, we had no idea how many we would get. But the people kept coming; we stopped counting at 50. We almost got into trouble as we found it difficult to organise that many people with hi-viz jackets, gloves and grabber sticks, as well as doing a health and safety briefing.”

 

Pluckley village clean-up

Rather blurry photographic proof of the Pluckley village clean-up

What advice would you give to other Nextdoor Leads across the UK? What’s the best way to get people recruited?

Work on getting clubs and local groups involved and encourage them to post updates and events. Oh and Cake of course!”

Has it helped your community having nearby neighbourhoods involved?

“Yes. Because this area is a collection of hamlets rather than isolated villages and is in fact, is a single community. Egerton and Pluckley, which for years have a shared parish magazine, now share many groups and clubs.”

Do you have any other stories about how Nextdoor has helped Pluckley?

“The Pluckley Women’s Collective has benefited massively from Nextdoor. The newly launched Pluckley Tennis Club held an open day on Sunday using the tennis courts at the recreation ground. It was really well attended after promotion on Nextdoor as well the key ingredient: cake. Back in December, when we had less that 200 members, we had arguably the best turnout ever for the annual ‘Carols Around The Tree’ with the school. It seems like any event posted on Nextdoor gets an amazing turnout.”

Martin, Pluckley

A jolly looking Martin

You posted an April Fool on the site about Pluckley being twinned with San Francisco. What was that about? 😉

“I heard you had mentioned that Pluckley was the talk of your San Francisco office. I took this story and and with a little embellishment, pushed out the twinning post. It worked well and I think that some people believed it (almost).”

So whilst a little of the Hollywood glitz may have gone from the days that Catherine Zeta-Jones frequented Pluckley’s local pubs, we are glad that Nextdoor has helped Martin and others bring back a sense of community to their village neighbourhood.

Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighbourhood? Let us know.

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