app for loving your community

Can an app help you love your community?

app for loving your community

can an app help you love your community?

I live in Doncaster, and despite it being crowned the “most chilled and least stressful place to live in the UK”, most people’s reaction to this announcement is “oh that’s a shame!”. You see, Doncaster isn’t the nicest place in the world (although I’m sure it’s not the worst!). It is a typical slightly rundown town surrounded by ex-mining communities.

the problem i face in my community…

Sometimes I walk around my town and feel sad. There is litter, broken things that no-one has fixed, buildings that no-one cares about and general signs of poverty all around. It makes my heart sink and my soul feel heavy. I cry out to the God who created and loves this world – why has it become so unloved by those that live in it?

Practically I try to look after my little corner of the world – my house, my garden, my estate. But try as I might, I can never clean up everything. Even when I go out with the community action team at church and litter pick the streets for a couple of hours it isn’t going to change everything. And yet the impact of just simple litter can be HUGE. Health, crime, anti-social behaviour, loss of business are all things that stem from and can be worsened by the presence of litter in a neighbourhood. Once that pride in a community is lost, it is difficult for it to be rebuilt.

a new strategy…

So I decided a new strategy was called for. I could not be a one woman army who tackles the whole of Doncaster’s litter and other problems (there would be little time for looking after my kids if I did that!!).  But I could flag up every problem I saw that made me sad to live here so that someone else could deal with it.

Who might that someone else be? Well they came in the form of an app on my phone, that goes by the name of My Doncaster Council. (Yes the council).

Our local councils are there to help do tasks that no-one would normally do if it was left to us. They provide public goods and services. We pay them through our lovely council taxes to look after our local environments so that we don’t have to. But lately councils have had to cut back on a lot of things, and so they won’t be out patrolling and checking the local area as much. We can be their eyes and ears on the ground. The app I have means that I can report litter, fly tipping, graffiti and a whole host of other things right there and then. I can post photos and videos so that the council can see exactly what the issue is. I am doing their investigating for them.

will my community feel the love?

Why is this loving I hear you ask? Because I want my community to feel good when they step out the door. I want them to have pride in where they live, to be healthy and happy.  We joke that it’s a British pastime to moan.  Well I want to try to report everything that would be the cause of that  moaning (although I can’t change the weather so we’ll always have that to moan about!). I don’t want to just keep walking past the litter and the broken things and expect someone else to do something about it.  I am loving my neighbours by using this app to get them fixed and cleaned up.

Why don’t you see if your local council has an app too…..

5 thoughts on “Can an app help you love your community?

  1. Kate says:

    Fond memories of Doncaster,. Also there are often Councils for Voluntary Service and Local Volunteering Development Agencies that can help you find out how you can make a difference and encourage others to do so.

    • Rachel Ridler says:

      Thanks Kate- there are so many ways in which we can love our community. With small children I know I find it hard to volunteer so trying to encourage people to think outside the box with different ways they can love others during this season x

  2. Amanda says:

    Wow, what a brilliant idea! I shall certainly be looking to see whether our local council has a similar app (and if not, I’ll be sending them the link to the Doncaster one and suggesting they consider something similar!) It’s so easy to feel powerless to change things – I think that half the battle with the way people feel about our world at the moment is that it doesn’t seem to matter what they do. So this is such an empowering idea, helping the community to work *with* the council 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with #sharethejoylinky xx

    • Rachel Ridler says:

      Thanks Amanda! I love to think outside the box a little. Hope your council has the app too. It has really inspired me to make an impact on my community, and this week I got two phone calls about things I had reported to update me on them. Feels good to change the place that I live for the better.

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