Voice of the Beecroft

The BC Twitter feed is not just a propaganda channel, it's taken on a second life as a place for Brockley Central readers to coalesce and help each other out with everything from advice to stuff.

Sal has gone one stage further (and more local) and launched a sharing community with Beecroft Road as its epicentre. She writes:

Beecoft Hive is a neighbourhood cooperative community for residents to trade skills and resources and build a bit of community spirit.

I first got the idea a few weeks back when I’d managed to bagsy a tumble dryer on Freecycle and was faced with the mission of picking it up from Hither Green. Neither my fiancĂ© nor myself drive and none of our London-based friends with cars were available. It would have been incredibly useful if I could have just popped over to a neighbour and asked for a lift. The thing is, I don’t know a single one of my neighbours, even though we've lived in Brockley for four years! We ended up getting a cab.

When I was a child, we knew all of the residents of our street by name. We knew their kids names and when their birthdays were. If I needed sponsoring for something at school, my first port of call was always my neighbours. At Christmas we delivered cards and small gifts to the elderly residents. There were parties and BBQs in the summer and all the kids played together in the street.

We are all so much more connected to our friends and family via the Internet now but it’s been to the detriment of local life. When you can Skype your best friend in New York or get your groceries delivered at the touch of a button, why bother knowing the name of the person who lives opposite you? This reality makes me sad, so I decided to launch Beecroft Hive.

I think the main stumbling point that I’m facing is the fact that people trust each other a lot less now. Because we don’t start right out knowing everyone on our street, there’s always the fear that you’re putting yourself at risk, so the only way this project will succeed is if the neighbourhood takes a bit of a leap of faith, starts out slow and builds the network. Currently my focus is on Beecroft Road, Dalrymple Road, half of Howson Road, Merritt Road and the immediate stretch of Brockley Road. I plan to extend the catchment area if uptake is poor, but I’d be happy for anyone within SE4 to join in now.

I’ve drafted up a set of terms and conditions for the community, focusing on keeping everyone safe and happy as much as possible and I honestly believe that this is a resource that could benefit a lot of people and put an end to the isolation of living globally, rather than locally. It’s possible that I’m being idealistic, but the proof will be in the results, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!