Where You Belong, Who You Are, Who Supports You, Who Share Your Values
Defined as a group of people living in the same place, sharing certain beliefs, values, attitudes and interests, a community is surely something that we all belong to, or is it?
I have recently thought about my own sense of belonging. As a white British/Irish middle class post-graduate psychologist, living in central London, you might think that I might belong to lots of ‘groups’: ethnic, class, education… But do these make up my community?
I personally feel that certain ‘groups’ of people in London have lost or not been able to build a sense of community within the area they live. Perhaps it is the belief that one must not intrude on another’s business, or perhaps it is that many people in London have moved here to escape their own oppressive communities, or only stay for short periods of time in one place. But in all honesty within the ‘groups’ I belong I believe there is a sense of lost community; how many people who live in London know more than one of their neighbours?
It saddens me to think that by not being part of a community people can become lost, isolated and alone in a city full of so many people. A community can support each other in times of need and in times of great joy.
Whether you belong to any of the diverse communities in central London; Turkish, Black Caribbean, Orthodox Jewish or many many more, a community offers support to you in a way that extends beyond your family and friends.
Listening to people who live in London and who have a sense of belonging to a community has highlighted to me that it is something I currently do not have. But please don’t misunderstand me; I have an incredible family and wonderful friends, yet if I could not contact them or if I was not so fortunate to have these people in my life, would anyone remember me or notice if I hadn’t left the house in a week?
I believe that it is down to us to build a sense of community within London. Be that by just getting to know your neighbours, talking to people who live on your street or going to the local pub quiz on a Tuesday night. So maybe even if you aren’t feeling like throwing an extravagant street party, then just say hello to your neighbours and ask them their name… because we have to start somewhere.