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Our Block Party
Four Block Watch Captains wanted to put together a community event to enhance community spirit and encourage better “neighbourly” relations within our small community of Hankin Drive and Musgrave Crescent in the Terra Nova area of Richmond. We chose to do a morning coffee “Meet your Neighbours” get together from 10 AM – 1200 PM (noon) on September 20, 2014. Coffee, tea and small snacks were to be provided and necessitated the rental of some tents, tables and a few chairs to create a site for the Block Party. We applied for and received a Small Neighbourhood Grant in order to cover our expenses.
We approached some of our community retail outlets for their support as well and were very warmly received. Starbucks supplied coffee, tea and accessories, and gave us a 40% discount on our food purchase. Save-On Foods provided us with water and juice, and two managers even came with a Save-On tent in order to help serve the attendees.
We also advised Block Watch about this activity and while this was not a “Block Watch” event, they supported us by sending two RCMP auxiliary officers in their patrol car to mingle with both the children and adults.
We used our Block Watch email address list to send out our invitations, and also delivered them door to door to achieve 100% coverage. We had our invitations printed in Chinese and English due to the diverse nature of our neighbourhood. As our event was taking place on a street, we had to purchase Liability Insurance, which was an unexpected expense.
The end result was a huge success with over 100 people attending our event. The feedback even before the event was and is very positive. Neighbours have mentioned that others are now greeting them on the street whereas in the past heads would be down, as people went their own way. We are grateful to the Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants Program for enabling us to hold this event. We also thank Serena Lusk for mentoring us through the steps of the event, and for securing City of Richmond traffic barriers and tents for us. We acknowledged all of the above on our invitation and at our sign in table at the event.
Our hope is to maintain periodic contact with all neighbours, and to hold another event in 2015.
A couple of stats: we had representation from 44 of 68 households on our Block Watch list (which is now up to 72 houses out of 114 houses). Hard to know the exact number of people as we didn’t keep track of the numbers of children who attended, but we used just over 100 of our nametag labels (for adults)!