Member Stories

Take Five: Inspiring stories of neighbours coming together

Written by Sarah Friar

Social isolation and loneliness is affecting neighbours across the globe. Last week, I shared a Note to Neighbours discussing how we can all work together to build deeper connections within our local communities. Neighbours around the world are already doing the work to break the ice and meet new neighbours, and each of these new connections made between neighbours adds a strong thread within the fabric of our global society. 

This week, we encourage you to take five minutes to read and be inspired by the following member stories. We hope you will feel energised to “take five” to help, or ask for help, in your community too, and to tell your neighbours on Nextdoor about your experience. A quick conversation at your local store or a knock on the door of a neighbour who might be struggling could make all the difference. 

Angela – Cumbernauld, Scotland

Angela began experiencing anxiety and panic attacks in 2014, but it took nearly a year to receive a proper diagnosis and even longer to find resources near her home in Cumbernauld, Scotland. Angela courageously decided to take matters into her own hands: if there wasn’t an accessible support network in her hometown, then she would create one. And with that, Peace of Mind was born. 

When she received a postcard inviting her to join Nextdoor, she knew it would be the perfect place to reach out to those in her community looking for help and support. Nextdoor made it really easy for her to connect with neighbours and share her Peace of Mind help group with the community. Now she posts regular updates about the drop-in sessions, shares useful information and advice, and polls local residents to learn of their opinions and concerns on mental health resources in the area. Angela’s support group has provided a safe space for people to open up and share how they are feeling with those who understand and care. For some members, it has given purpose back to her lives and for others, it has provided the opportunity to bring their partners along to better understand mental health issues.

Abraham – Alexandria, VA, United States 

When Abraham moved to Alexandria, VA, he found it difficult to form deep bonds with his new neighbours. He turned to Nextdoor to ask if any men in his community would be interested in meeting someone new. Abraham received over 50 responses from a variety of neighbours that all had one thing in common: a desire to foster friendships. When he found that other dads also struggled making connections with their neighbours, he took the opportunity to form a men’s social club that meets twice a month for a new activity to counteract feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Thanks to the success of his men’s club, Abraham took his mission one step further and created a new campaign: 30 Coffees in 30 Days with 30 Neighbors. The challenge is simple – meet at a local coffee shop each day with one of his Nextdoor neighbours.

“With Nextdoor, you have the opportunity to connect with neighbours offline,” Abraham shared. “I hope I can spark more people to bring together people in groups in their communities.”

René – Paris, France 

71-year-old René founded the P’tit Bistrot Solidaire, a welcoming place where neighbours of all ages and backgrounds can get to know each other, share conversation, and ultimately deepen their community relationships. René was inspired to open the P’tit Bistrot Solidaire after hearing about Nextdoor’s ‘Ma Porte est Ouverte’ campaign, inviting neighbours across France to befriend those who may be experiencing loneliness during the holiday season. With food and drink donations provided by local restaurants and cafés, the first P’tit Bistrot Solidaire event was a huge success. René was able to bring together 38 of his neighbours and has continued this initiative in hopes of strengthening the social fabric of his local community. René shares, “In the subway, everybody is using their smartphones instead of looking at each other. With a platform like Nextdoor, technology serves as a way to meet! Nextdoor fills today’s society’s needs.”

René has inspired Nextdoor France to launch ‘Petits Cafés Solidaires’ – a summer initiative inviting Nextdoor neighbours to meet in solidarity for a fun activity. In fact, we were privileged to help kick off one of the first activities in Lyon in early July.

Cheryl – New South Wales, Australia 

As a recent empty nester entering a new chapter of life, Cheryl of Randwick, New South Wales turned to Nextdoor for a simple and comfortable way to build new relationships. She shared a post inviting neighbours to share a “cuppa” and a chat and the response was overwhelming – hundreds of comments and thanks later, Cheryl had dozens of neighbours eager to meet at a local park for their first gathering. Cheryl says the group now plans to meet regularly, sharing, “I love a chat, but making friends can take a while to see if you share similar character and values. Nextdoor can get the ball rolling with neighbours whether it’s selling a chair, needing a lightbulb changed, or just asking if anyone wants to have a cup of tea or coffee.”

Joan – Barcelona, Spain

Joan from the l’Eixample district in Barcelona set a goal to achieve his dream of filming a documentary about the importance of community. He posted the idea on Nextdoor and gathered support from more than 40 neighbours who volunteered to assist the local filmmaker. With neighbours filling the roles of actors, make-up artists, sound engineers, scriptwriters, and even cameramen, the production was a huge success. Two months ago, these neighbours hadn’t even met each other and now they have not only created a beautiful film together, but have also built many new friendships along the way. “It seemed magical, everyone wanted to help for nothing,” shared one group member. “Nextdoor has given me back faith in humanity.” 

Creating real change can take just five minutes. How will you take five to connect with a neighbour? Tell us in the comments below – we’d love to hear!

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