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How community can enrich lives on our doorstep and beyond

Group photo of Worcester community litter pick team

In an article originally published in News on the Block, we discuss the importance of establishing a true sense of community at resident managed developments.

Living in a happy home can extend beyond the front door as more people seek the benefits of living within a thriving community or neighbourhood. As a property manager, each development we manage presents an opportunity to work at the very heart of communities.

This starts on-site and extends to the wider local communities that our developments are part of. It involves property managers engaging with RMCs and working collaboratively with them so that we can respond quicker and more effectively to customers’ expectations of what a ‘good’ community looks like.

The communal areas and facilities we manage include gardens and outdoor spaces, shared facilities such as gyms and swimming pools, and adaptable space such as flexible working areas, designed to make working from home a more sociable experience.

We need to make sure we are providing opportunities to make the best of what’s on offer, providing a home from home in our shared spaces that brings people together and establishes a community.

Facilities that create a community feel are becoming increasingly important to developers’ plans and are at the forefront of RMC Directors’ minds. Local amenities such as coffee shops and community hubs are increasingly becoming must-haves in a wider community setting and how we support and integrate these local community offers into our residents’ lives is an increasing focus.

For those residents with a particular passion for sustainability, a community focus has led to environmental projects being born, with tree planting, rainwater harvesting, green roofs and even beekeeping among some of the features introduced. A south London residential development we manage has recently welcomed two hives of honeybees in a bid to help the bee population, the local environment and the development community. Residents will be able to find out the latest updates on the bees on their internal portal and they will even be given the opportunity to get involved in urban beekeeping.

We need to look beyond the front door too. Earlier this year, we announced a new partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital. Communities at individual developments have already begun to come together to host their own fundraisers and this gives a great opportunity for our colleagues to engage with residents on a different level, with a shared goal. One of our developments in Redhill, Surrey kicked off the fundraising partnership, where residents gathered for a performance by a local musician, playing a Grade II-listed organ, which is housed at the historic development.

Case study: FirstPort Community Day

In June, FirstPort hosted its inaugural Community Day, inviting colleagues and residents to take part in activities which aided the local area, supported local initiatives and also championed other causes close to their hearts.

FirstPort residents and colleagues took part in 16 local events across the country, including litter picks, beach cleans, foodbank volunteering, work with a Ukraine support charity and grounds and community building tidy ups.

Property Manager, Mark Hart, who led the food bank volunteering at Hope Church in Hounslow said: “The event was amazing, seeing young and old coming to collect their food hamper, it was an eye opener for all of us and my team would love to do this again. The Vicar and the leadership of the church could not thank us enough, as they were so grateful for us being there. The highlight of the day was seeing the smiles on the faces of the young mothers with children, receiving nappies, groceries and food”

Resident, Suzanne Florey, from Sovereign Court, who attended the Bognor Regis beach clean, said: “I was hesitant about coming, but I am so glad I did. It’s been somewhat therapeutic and so nice to give something back – a chance to make new friends too.”

This article was originally posted on News on the Block on 7th August.

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