Some individuals spend years searching for their dream home, but finding the right property is just the beginning of the journey. The process of conveyancing, fixing snags, and moving in furniture can be overwhelming, but becoming part of your community can make a significant impact on how settled you feel in your new surroundings.
Joining the community allows you to get to know your neighbours and create lasting relationships. You’ll be able to participate in local events, learn about the area, and develop a sense of belonging. By becoming a part of your community, you’ll have a support system in place, which can make a huge difference in helping you feel at home.
Here are tips for how to get adjusted to your new community.
Explore your new area and community on foot
The first step to getting used to the community is exploring the local area. And you don’t have to wait until you move to achieve this. Start by exploring maps for your new area. These can show local shops, restaurants, or even woodland walks and attractions. Getting a feel for the area, how long it will take to travel around, and understanding the public transport systems can make exploring more comfortable before you arrive.
Once you are moved in, explore the area on foot. By exploring the area without your car, you can interact with passers-by. Saying ‘hello’ to neighbours and others on the street will establish you as part of the community. You’ll start to recognise faces you see often, and they’ll recognise yours, too – making it easier to strike up a conversation. If you can, do a food shop close to your house.
Trying new shops and restaurants is also a great way to explore the area. Finding locally run businesses and organisations are key to understanding the community better. These can also offer more information on local activities and events as they invest heavily in the community, making them a suitable place to start getting information and connections in your area.
Tzana Webster, head of property sales at Watermans, said: “When moving locations, it is easy to get caught up on the house and belongings alone. But understanding and exploring the community is just as important for having an easy settling-in period as anything else.
“My recommendation is to find local businesses and start a conversation. Getting to know those who know the area best is a surefire way to begin settling into the community.”
Get to know the locals and build connections with those around you
A community encompasses much more than just the physical environment. It comprises the neighbours and friends who make it feel like home. Building relationships with those in your area can accelerate your adjustment to new surroundings. They can serve as your local guide, pointing you towards beloved spots, and fostering a sense of safety and security in your new home.
Finding community social clubs at the nearest leisure centre or pub quiz night can help you build connections with those around you. Common interests with weekly, fortnightly, or monthly meetups can give you something to look forward to and open communication in a neutral environment.
Volunteering can also be an effective way to get to know others within your community. Why not find a local homeless shelter, charity shop, or food bank which could need an extra pair of hands? That way, you can give have an effect in your area, make connections, and establish yourself as a good community member.
Host events of your own or start a community club
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the area and your neighbours, it’s a good idea to actively participate in community life. Hosting events is an excellent way to achieve this. For instance, you could host a summer barbecue and extend invitations to your neighbours and friends. This serves as an effective icebreaker, allowing you to establish yourself as a social hub and helping others get to know you better.
Another way to become more involved in the community is to initiate activities that don’t currently exist. You could start a neighbourhood club or organize social events such as running groups, bi-annual charity raffles, or other engaging activities. This not only gives you a sense of responsibility within the community but also provides opportunities to forge relationships with others.
Eventually, you can use your events to welcome new members of the community, further reinforcing your role as a community leader and fostering a sense of belonging for all.
It can take almost half a year to feel like you’re part of the community. Understand it will take time and that this is normal. But by approaching your move in the ways listed above, you can help further your interactions with the locals and learn the best routes around your new area.
Embracing the community spirit is key to feeling truly at home in your new neighbourhood. Beyond simply moving in, actively participating in the community can have a profound and lasting impact on how quickly you settle into your new surroundings. Don’t delay, take advantage of this opportunity to connect with your neighbours, engage in local activities, and make the most of your new home.
By fostering relationships with those around you, you’ll create a sense of belonging, establish a support system, and gain a deeper understanding of the area. So, start reaching out, attend local events, and become an integral part of your community. The efforts you make now will pay dividends in the form of a stronger connection to your new home and a greater sense of fulfilment in your new life.