Noel Brown, cabinet member for community engagement and public health at Bucks County Council, writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers about street associations:

How well do you know your neighbours? Most of us live surrounded by other people and yet loneliness is reaching epidemic proportions. 

At the county council we’re trying to reverse that trend by actively promoting the creation of Street Associations, which break down social barriers and help small groups of friendly neighbours get together to grow into bigger groups of friendly neighbours.

One of the challenges we face is getting the younger generation to see the benefits of helping the older generation, and getting the pre-retirement generation, who are often the most influential, to get on board with an initiative that they are among the most likely to appreciate in the future. 

With a rapidly ageing population, more and more people are going to need some support close at hand as they grow older, whether that’s help with everyday chores or in a crisis.

So having people looking out for their neighbours, and their neighbours looking out for them, is a win-win situation.

We want more people to be the eyes and ears of their community and aware of the most vulnerable around them - people who might not identify themselves as being vulnerable – to avoid shrinking communities and more isolated people.

Could you start a Street Association? It doesn’t have to be on a large scale – it can start with something as simple as a few neighbours meeting for a regular cup of coffee!  

Street Associations are already working in Hughenden parish in Wycombe, Pond Park in Chesham, Burnham and Aylesbury, with more planned across the county.

If you’d like to start a Street Association in your community you’ll receive a starter pack containing signposting materials; a directory of local organisations and the authorities they are most likely to get help from; calling cards for them to offer help to the vulnerable; tips on organising community get-togethers; plus guidance on trouble signs to look out for.

Find out more about starting a Street Association in your community or request a pack to help your street in Buckinghamshire, by emailing us at or call 01296 382345.