Neighbors are connecting the Street by Street way

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By Street by Street

Irene Opper moved to St Kilda 6 years ago. She knew a handful of neighbors when she invited everyone in the Arrandale apartment block over for morning tea. About half of the people came along and Arrandale residents have been having regular morning teas and barbecues since – and, of course, lots of helping one another.

What started with one block of apartments expanded to the entire Esplanade and has further grown to include the residential part of Acland St and surrounding streets.

With more and more people asking to join, there are now 102 members! We’ve chosen the name Green Knoll Neighbor Group as Green Knoll is an old name for St Kilda, particularly the bit of it near us. We started with one Community Connector and now we have five people sharing the organizing.

We have lots of opportunities to meet up in person – St Kilda is full of great spots where we share a meal, a drink, a coffee. With a handful to a dozen people coming to each gathering, we’ve been connecting with a nice, small number of people – ideal for making real connections.

We’re meeting fabulous people and talking about our area and local issues. We’re supporting local businesses and spreading the word on local developments and events. We’re making friends and helping one another. Someone asked the group – who can take a cockatiel? A neighbor did. Someone else asked to borrow a sewing machine – she had 3 offered within 24 hours! An onion for tonight’s dinner – easy! Offers of help to neighbors who are injured or sick – plenty!

This was inspired by the Street by Street Project, which aims to turn streets into communities and foster a national network of neighbor groups. T

here are currently groups in 4 states. Most Street by Street neighbor groups are smaller than this one – it’s all a big experiment and no two groups are the same. That’s the beauty of this approach – people can choose for themselves what they want to do together. Simple, regular, social get together are recommended, so that neighbor groups are welcoming, informal, independent and fun.

Within Port Phillip, there are now Street by Street Groups in St Kilda West, St Kilda Junction and part of Elwood. Irene Opper is the national manager and would like to hear from people who’d like to have a neighbors gathering in their area or would like to volunteer to promote the project. She can be contacted by Irene@streetbystreet.org.au or 0413 706 233. There are lots of great info, kits, ideas and templates on the website www.streetbystreet.org.au

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