Sidney hopes to connect neighbours to build resiliency in the wake of COVID-19.
The town launched Meet Your Street, a program that aims to enhance neighbourly connections and build resilience. The resident-led effort helps neighbours get to know each other through neighbourhood activities.
This program aims to address widespread feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and mental distress amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on the idea that fostering conversations and connections with others increases personal well-being and happiness.
People who look out for one another develop stronger bonds with the people and their communities. Additionally, Meet Your Street also supports resiliency by helping community members match needs with resources at a neighbourhood scale.
“Neighbourhood connections are a vital foundation for resilient communities, and they are especially important now as COVID-19 is keeping us close to home,” Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said in a statement. “Not only do neighbours become our first responders in emergencies, but having local connections also builds trust, creates a sense of home, safety, and security, and helps communities withstand and overcome crises.”
Sidney’s Emergency Operations Centre survey results indicate residents are concerned about individual and collective well-being. Survey respondents identified mental health as a top concern for themselves, their families and their community. The survey results also indicate that many residents are interested in volunteering and becoming more involved.
The program needs residents interested in organizing simple, safe social gatherings or activities; encouraging neighbours to help neighbours with small tasks such as food shopping or dog walking; and discussing emergency preparedness for possible future incidents such as a prolonged power outage, severe windstorm, or earthquake.
Sidney asks residents interested in starting a neighbourhood group to contact Donna Barner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-656-2121 and ask for a free Resource Guide.
Visit sidney.ca/meetyourstreet for more details.
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