The Utilize Project is driven by a belief in the importance of community and this is now more important than ever! Although we cannot physically be with one another, there are still ways to build and maintain a sense of community and make sure we are all supported through this difficult time.
Plus, when things begin to return to normal, the sense of community is bound to be stronger than ever before. This will enable community projects to thrive. In this blog, we take a look at why a sense of community is essential for our wellbeing.
One of the most valuable things about having a sense of community is that you don’t feel alone. This is especially important for the more vulnerable members of our society, including children and older people. Community projects can help bring people together from all walks of life, helping them to feel less alone.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities are helping to prevent loneliness. For example, initiatives which put lonely older people in contact with a young person to meet up once a week have not stopped. Instead, they are using technologies such as video calls to keep in touch.
Opens up new opportunities
The great thing about building a community is that it introduces you to people and ideas you might not come across otherwise.
In our last blog, for example, we looked at how meanwhile spaces can be used to offer new opportunities for small businesses, charities and people in the local community. They can be used as pop-up shops, galleries for showcasing art, coworking spaces or community venues. Although all of this is (sadly) on pause at the moment, they will be more important than ever when we return to normal.
Builds a feeling of togetherness
One thing that lockdown has taught us is that there’s something very powerful in the sense of being in it together.
Once the pandemic is over, The Utilize Project want to keep this sense of togetherness for communities across London. That’s why we want to make the most of London’s empty spaces to make a difference to the people who need community support, help new and small businesses to flourish, and reach out to young people to offer them a safe space to learn and grow. We shouldn’t need a pandemic to teach us that we are stronger together!
Good for your health
It is thought that being part of a community and regularly socialising is beneficial for our health, both mental and physical. For example, one research article which looked at results across 148 studies found that participants with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival.
That’s because our social networks allow us to be supported by other people and feel a sense of belonging. Whether it’s having someone to talk things through with, or a friend to do certain activities with, your community is also good for your health.
Those are just a few reasons why a sense of community is so important. London especially can be a lonely and isolating place if you don’t have a support network around you, so we are keen to make sure that people in local communities are connected and made to feel a part of something.
As soon as lockdown is lifted, we are keen to get back out there and start utilizing some of London’s empty spaces for good!
This blog was written by Sophie Barber from one of our partners,The Click Hub, a digital marketing agency in London.