The weekend of the Tour de Yorkshire was clearly a very successful and happy one for many in Ilkley. Thousands enjoyed the lovely weather, the thrill of the race and the sense of community which the event created. The race brought people together in new ways.
The means by which we create and make community has changed rapidly in recent years. People most commonly find friendship, companionship and company today through common interests and hobbies. We tend to gather in “networks” with those who share our own leisure interests and pastimes. Modern technology and social media also directs and attracts us towards people who share who views, outlooks or who are similar to ours.
Much of this is potentially positive. However, this change in the way in which we associate one with another has meant that some look less to their own geographical location for community and companionship. It can be very possible for us to have a strong network of friends and inhabit a number of different “communities” but hardly know those who live on our street. This may, in part, explain why there is increasing concern about the loneliness and isolation of some, particularly the elderly or the disadvantaged. They may struggle to network in the same way because access may be difficult for them or engagement with newer technologies may be beyond their reach.
Neighbourliness and community is more than just our geographical location, but if we don’t keep an eye out for the person close by who may be lonely or isolated there is a distinct possibility today that no one will. Sometimes small acts of thoughtfulness and kindness towards our forgotten or isolated neighbour can be life changing in magnitude.