If the last year has taught us one thing it is that life is more rewarding when we are more connected to our neighbourhood. While all of us are looking forward to exploring the wider world again, many of us want to build on the meaningfulness we have found in living a more local life. But is it possible to return to our busy city lives and still maintain the interaction of local life we’ve come to love?
We know one of the main challenges to making the most out of our neighbourhood is being aware of what’s going on. That’s why Social Streets has launched Connect, a neighbourhood portal that tells you everything that’s going on on your doorstep from events and volunteering opportunities to shops and services, making it easier to stay local.
Our editorial content will continue as normal but this will be a way for members of our community to have their own area of the Roman Road LDN website where they can promote their organisations, events, projects and news. A truly collective platform for the community.
Over the last few years we’ve worked closely with members of the community in Tower Hamlets to create a service that meets their needs as a small business working in some of the most deprived wards in the country.
It’s affordable. For Connect to be useful it is important that as many members of the community are on it as possible. That’s also why we’ve kept the listings cost especially low for local businesses, charities and organisations. Grassroots organisations that are run by volunteers can list their group for free, so if you’re a residents association or community group, please get in touch for your free listing.
We subsidise local organisations. That’s key for us as a not-for-profit organisation working to celebrate community on a neighbourhood level. We give preferential treatment to local people, businesses and organisations. The standard price for a listing is a reasonable £18 per month but, if you are local, we offer a discount of two thirds on this price, bringing it down to just £6 per month. That’s how we will make sure Connect comprises relevant, local listings.
It reflects the rich tapestry that makes up local community. Connect allows you to list everything. Unlike conventional listing services such as Yell, it’s not just a list of businesses. Once you become a Connect member you can add unlimited events, projects, notices, jobs, volunteering opportunities and special offers at no extra cost. This reflects the tapestry of places to visit, things to do and ways of getting involved that make up a community.
It’s egalitarian. There are no tiered packages that restrict some features. All members benefit from all features, including a gallery of images, business information including operating hours, links to social media platforms, star ratings, reviews, and directions to help you find little places much more easily.
It’s hyper-local. We only list what’s going on in the respective patch. We know that if it’s not 15 minutes walk from home, it’s not realistic to fit into our lives. Although we do list events that are slightly further afield as people are willing to travel a bit further for an evening of entertainment.
Why did we call it Connect? Because, as a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping people get connected is at the heart of what our local publications do. Our editorial content helps people put names to faces online. Now Connect will help people connect with each other in real life.
We want Connect to be a collective effort to create a sustainable community platform that helps us all, both the businesses and organisations doing incredible things in our neighbourhoods and the local residents who want to get the most out of where they live.