Filling Walsall’s streets with kindness
February 10, 2022 | Kevin Davis
We’re excited to announce that the Love Walsall network is partnering with the ‘AS ONE’ initiative to spread the love street by street across Walsall.
Walsall organisations including Walsall Borough Council, faith groups, schools, businesses and others are joining forces to help local residents living in streets across the borough to renew their sense of belonging, support and friendliness, as widely experienced in the first lock-down during the pandemic. As part of Walsall’s ‘As One’ campaign, the message, ‘Fill your street with friendliness’, launched on St Valentine’s Day, will soon be displayed on hundreds of large banners across the borough. From the spring, dozens of local As One events will be put on to help the message take root in each locality.
The idea is to encourage more of a sense of connection, kindness, friendliness and belonging between people who live on the same street and aims to be a huge boost for elderly people, young families, single people, everyone!
Dozens of churches and other faith groups, community centres and other Walsall partners are preparing to host As One Tea Party events, each for their own neighbourhood. There, residents from each local street will be introduced to the idea of starting a Street Association for their own street, with the aim of keeping the friendliness going long after the pandemic has lifted. In many local areas, an As One memorial service will also be held, ahead of the tea party, to remember the anxiety, isolation, loss and bereavement experienced by so many over the last two years and to help bring a measure of peace and ‘closure’, with the tea party then seeking to take the key ‘positive’ of the pandemic – the burst of community spirit – and help it to flourish for the long term.
The two-metre banner, introducing a design which is being picked up in other parts of the UK, focuses its encouragement on ‘your street’, because a Street Association led by local residents has been shown over 10 years to be a popular way of getting people together, organising things like a children’s party, a barbecue, quiz night or trip away, just for one’s own street. With an agenda of ‘friendship, fun, belonging, a helping hand’, the prize is that everyone gradually gets to know everyone, friendliness is released, isolation is addressed, fun is had and practical help flows to residents who may need it. Community events are anticipated to take place from the spring, with the Platinum Jubilee as a key incentive to get neighbourly communication going in time. The strap-line for Street Associations is ‘Love my street’, making a St Valentine’s Day launch most appropriate!
Residents are encouraged to find out more about starting a Street Association where they live – see www.as-one.uk/walsall
for more details of how to get it going. There is also an invitation to help spread the As One vision on social media: Facebook: /asoneuk; Instagram:@asoneuk; Twitter: @asoneukcampaign.
Councillor Garry Perry, Walsall Borough Council deputy leader, resilient communities, says: “I fully support the As One initiative. We know that the strength of Walsall lies in its people and they in turn are much stronger when pulling together, as we saw at the height of the pandemic. As One is about making sure that the solidarity and community spirit that filled our streets then can be carried forward into a ‘new normal’, with friendliness and connectedness characterising our communities for the long term. I encourage residents and neighbourhood organisations to take an active part and to help make it happen!”
Kevin Davis, chair of the Love Walsall network of churches, says, “We are thrilled to be able to support the As One vision with local events across the borough and, as part of a wide partnership, to help create the kind of caring society we’d all like our children to grow up in. Let’s ensure that the community spirit that was so prevalent during the early stages of the pandemic isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan, but can be given legs to last, street by street – ‘love your neighbour’ in practice!”
Order your banner
We are asking the churches in Walsall Borough to support this community activity in their areas to encourage street to form their own local ‘associations of friendliness’. Our churches will be the catalyst to advertise, invite and launch hundreds of local street associations.
We would love to get as many As One road side banners on display outside churches across Walsall from February 14th, to coincide with a press release from Walsall Council.
Can you help?
Can you hang an As One street banner outside your church? We can provide you with banners and cable ties to hang them with.
These banners will act as a teaser to get people in Walsall curious about AS One. We will then follow up with materials for churches and street associations to get started .
Please can you seek permission, approve and reply with your church name and address and location for the banner and we will install them for you.