Neighbours become friends
Stuart, Joel, Thomas, Mark, John, James, Dean. Seven friends with a dream for Belfast. Seven guys with a passion to see city neighbours become friends…
‘Everyday Belfast’ is an idea which began in student circles at Queens University in September 2010. Stuart Bothwell, was one of of the initiators: “I guess we saw that student culture can be quite ‘dip in and dip out’. You study, hang out with friends, go home at the weekends. We wanted something more than that…”
So the guys started to try and get to know the neighbours on their little south Belfast street. They brought bags of coffee to each of the houses and left notes to introduce themselves. Soon they found people stopping them on the streets to say ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’. Some even requested that notes be left more often at their doors!
From that simple start the guys then decided to share the vision. They invited friends over to their Wellington Park Terrace house and communicated the heart of Everyday Belfast to 25 people packed into their living room.
“We just wanted to tell people about it,” says Stuart. “To say to them that we’d support them if they wanted to join us in this venture - as they tried to reach out to their neighbours - that we’d share ideas with them, pray with them.”
And Stuart and his housemates have been bringing the vision to life on their own street - they’ve cooked dinner for six people living opposite them, hung out with them, lent coffee and lighters to them and started to become friends with them.
“We see the stories starting to build up,” says Joel, who’s also involved in the project.
“We’d be happy if we could encourage people to live intentionally, to impact culture and start to shift it. It’s all about renewing the way we live and starting to see a community come about that is outward focussed.”
The Everyday Belfast guys are seeking to build a different culture in the city - to see it become a place where the faces we encounter every day become familiar to us; where we could begin to put names and stories to those faces; and begin to share Love on the streets that we call home.
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