COMMENT: Our communities have changed, and it's a little bit sad

I grew up in a tiny village in the north of England - on the outskirts of Bradford to be more precise.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 5:05 pm

I’ve always felt a little bit awkward, I think hard about things, I certainly value my privacy and I’ve always been creative.

That little village was absolutely my kryptonite as an awkward blue-haired teenager.

Literally everybody knew eveyone’s business, tut tuts could be heard if someone forgot to take their washing in overnight, wasn’t seen at church on Sunday or didn’t join in wholeheartedly with whatever event was being organised.

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Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Needless to say I left as soon as I could - that sort of life really wasn’t for me.

But, community in this way - knowing every minute detail of everyone else’s day to day does have its plus points, and is in my view satisfying a basic human need.

This meerkat mentality made sure that all of our elderly neighbours got a Christmas dinner and their washing and shopping done.

It made sure that rogue children were delivered safely back to their parents if they wandered off, and that all the pets were fed during holiday breaks away - also you defintely got a visit from someone if you had to stay in hospital, or were having a hard time.

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

In return all you had to do was sign over your privacy - like I said, it’s not for everyone.

Nearly 16 years since I left my childhood village is not like that anymore, and now I am a little older that feels a bit sad.

There is something comforting in community at its best; in rallying round, and I feel that society gets its fix of those minute details from elsewhere nowadays. How many of us know more about the lives of celebrities like Kim Kardashian than we do about our neighbours?

Vacuous celebrity gossip is now filling in as far as I can see, and we are more than happy to sign away our privacy on social media, it feels like a shift for the worse.

I think we are increasingly living in insular worlds, but the big trick is that those worlds feel bigger than those communties of old.

It feels like many of us would rather carp and criticise than actually get stuck in and make a change and do something good.

So, let’s all say hello to our neighbours today, who knows, they might just really need our support.