How Neighbourliness Fosters Strong, Connected Communities: Part One

How Neighbourliness Fosters Strong, Connected Communities: Part One

The Cambridge Dictionary defines Neighbourliness as “the quality of being friendly or helpful to your neighbours.” As the pandemic wears on and our longing to be with each other deepens, we want to share three stories about inspiring CCOC neighbours who stepped up and looked out for each other this year.

The first neighbour in the series is CCOC tenant Patrick Schmidt. Patrick contacted the Tenant and Community Engagement department in spring 2020 with an idea about how he could support his neighbours. Below is Patrick’s story, in his own words.

Free bike tune-ups

“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I remember feeling helpless when I was told to stay home. It was a tough pill for me to swallow: healthcare workers were putting themselves at risk and all I wanted to do was help.

Unfortunately, not everyone can stay home and not everyone has access to private transportation. Anyone without private transportation faces the difficult decision of determining what trips are worth the risk (like getting groceries, going to work, attending medical appointments, etc.). Using public transportation and ride-hailing services means exposure to others, which was especially stressful at the beginning of the pandemic when little was known about how the virus was transmitted. This left walking or cycling as the safest choices.

A selfie of two people smiling. The person not taking the selfie is holding an adult bicycle.
Patrick and Rosemary take a selfie as Patrick hold’s Rosemary’s bike.

Bicycles are empowering tools. They provide autonomy and freedom of movement for the owner and help create a healthier society. Fortunately, I used to work in a bike shop and had the tools to get people back on their bikes. I could take care of simple things like brake, shifter and saddle adjustments, and pumping up tires. I reached out to CCOC and they were extremely supportive. Staff created an online submission form for tenants to request a bike tune-up, and then connected tenants with me.

Once the form was online and shared with tenants, the requests came in fast! Lots of people had bikes that were nearly ready to ride. They just needed a small tweak or safety check to get them on the move for essential transportation or exercise. Personally, I am grateful to have made connections with so many friendly CCOC residents. I can’t wait to kick off the bicycle tune-ups again in 2021! I’d also personally like to thank Hannah Vlaar, Adella Khan and Laine Johnson with CCOC for supporting this effort.”

 Stay tuned for part two and three of the Neighbourliness blog series, coming in May and June!

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