Thursday, 31 May 2012

What happened to community spirit?

Myself and another mum run a local mums group, which is quite prolific and active. We have around 800 members (some are mums who have left the area but still like to stay in touch). We send out a weekly e-newsletter with details of our own meetups, events that families may be interested in that are happening nearby and various offers and interesting notices. We have a website with tons of local information, everything from classes for mums and babies to mobile beauty therapists. We also have a Facebook page where mums post all kinds of random questions and also as a place to list stuff for sale or recommend a nanny or babysitter.

It's a great resource and network for mums (I can say that because I didn't set up the group myself!). We usually have a few annual events like a summer picnic, a Halloween and a Christmas party and so we have relationships with local businesses who sometimes support those events or offer raffle prizes for our fundraising raffle for the neo-natal ward at our local hospital.

All this to say, the group is a fantastic example of community spirit. We moved to this area of London a month before my first child was born. I didn't know anyone and certainly no mums here so was keen to start making some friends close by. I stumbled across the group and went along to one of their weekly coffee meetups for mums and new babies. I met several lovely ladies there and nearly four years later I still see most of them regularly and my son plays with their children. When my son was around 6 months old and one of the mums who was heavily involved with the group was moving away, I decided to take her place and give a little back to a group that had given so much to me.

I have enjoyed keeping the group going, helping other new mums make friends in the way I did, planning fun events for families in the area to get together but after a good three years of voluntary work for the group, it's time to pass on the role to someone else. We've put a call out for volunteers to help organise this year's summer picnic and also for someone to act as contact for a weekly meetup in the local park and the response rate has been....0! Very disappointing. We repeated the call in the next newsletter and still no joy.

It makes me a little sad that all these mums with young babies who I see using our Facebook group regularly and some of whom attend one of our weekly meetups have no interest in supporting a community group that has obviously been beneficial to them. Is it so much to ask a little of someone's time to keep a great network going? All it takes is a couple of people who have an interest in helping others in a similar situation to themselves. Any mum can tell you the value of other mums to have around, to spend time with, to discuss all the child rearing scenarios they experience and such like.

I fear community spirit is dwindling in our modern world and I think it's a great shame. What do you say? Is there a strong sense of community where you live?
photo credit


  1. This kind of thing winds me up too. On the surface there seems to be strong community in the town where I live, but in reality there are one or two people working really hard while others reap the rewards of it. People will bemoan the fact that there is no community or nothing to do, yet are not prepared to sacrifice their own time to change things while those who are just as busy actually DO it.

    You've obviously given more than your fair share, I hope you find someone prepared to take their turn at giving back x

    1. Glad to hear it's not just me who gets frustrated by this. You're exactly right about people bemoaning a lack of community but not prepared to do anything themselves!


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