It is the sense of community, with a small c, that makes and binds a Community with a big C, I think. The idea that the sum of all of us, its constituent elements, is greater than the whole, the place we live or work in.

One of the paradoxes of modern life for me is that at a macro level communities, towns, cities and councils seem to get in their own way, in a one step forward, two steps back fashion, whereas at a micro, person-to-person level, the opposite happens. Sorry, that’s a long sentence, a bit tortuous, but I didn’t want a full stop to break the flow.

I’m frequently reminded of this in provincial Ireland where the community is always helping itself out in tiny ways. I had a an email dialogue with someone the other day, and I needed to get an envelope containing important information to her sooner rather than later. ‘That’s OK, she said, you don’t need to drop it out to me, just leave it at the local shop and I’ll pick it up on my way from work.’ Genius. I left it behind the counter with the chap, and it seemed the most natural thing to do.

One company I work with needs parcels to be collected and sent out on a regular basis. If the local courier can’t get to them before the end of the day on a Friday, we leave them at the local petrol station and he picks them up from there on the Saturday morning.

We may get frustrated and befuddled by the bureaucracy and process of big business and big government, but we make up for it with the small kindnesses of community.

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