"I love the idea behind Talk to me London. What an innovative and fun way to encourage Londoners to talk to each other. Conversations are a great way to share experiences and stories, increase well-being, and bring a greater sense of community in the capital." Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
We want to make London a better place and we want to do that through talking. We believe that so many good things - big or small - can happen from a simple conversation between strangers. We know that talking brings about many benefits, from a greater sense of well-being to friendlier communities and increased opportunities.
We want to create more conversations in London and we want to kick it off through organising a "Talk to me London" Day on the 30th August 2014. On the day, we'll facilitate activities that get people talking and get us thinking about how we should talk more. The day will include:
- Giving out thousands of badges - if you wear the badge it shows you’re up for a chat, so the badge breaks down the barriers that often keep us silent.
- Events that utilise our public spaces to bring us together e.g. book clubs on tube carriages or dinner parties in parks
- Talks by experts on well-being, community cohesion, isolation etc. to help us think about the impact of not talking and think about strategies that can help us to break down this taboo
- Innovative public art that prompts us to start conversations in places where we otherwise wouldn't
Our stretch targets will help us to do even more on the day:
£12,000 would enable us to make Talk to me London Day bigger and bolder
We'll give out 20,000 badges PLUS we'll organise three large-scale initiatives in Central London:
- Talk to me Picnic Brunch in the Park - we'll host an informal brunch where you can come and join in some fun early morning talking activities - conversation tai chi, for example
- Talk to me drinks - we'll work with bars to organise subsidised Talk to me drinks events where there will be speed meeting, games and much more. A bit like speed dating but the idea is to have an unexpected conversation as opposed to meet your life partner!
- Talk to me 'Randomised Coffee Trials' (RCTs) - we'll host a massive version of the RCT concept (made famous by NESTA) where we match you up with someone you don't know for coffee
£20,000 would enable us to make Talk to me London Day London-wide
We’ll give out 50,000 badges PLUS, we'll...
- Organise events in North, East, South, West as well as in Central London, to ensure that the Talk to me message reaches all corners of our city!
- Produce a Talk to me Toolkit - we'll work with experts in talking and communications to create and publicise a toolkit to guide anyone who wants to organise their own Talk to me London event in their own neighbourhood!
- Promote these events through our own channels so that anyone can find something in their area!
Have you ever crossed paths with someone in London that you wanted to talk to? Maybe the person was reading an interesting book.Maybe you just wanted to ask directions. Maybe they were crying and you wanted to see if they were okay. But you didn’t. There was something unspoken in the air that held you back, something that stopped you from starting a conversation. In London, we don’t talk to each other. We go to lengths to avoid eye contact on the tube and those who do talk are seen as odd. To us this seem like a shame for a few reasons:
- We live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, with people from such different backgrounds and yet we share little of it.
- To many, London can be an unfriendly place - it is consistently voted as the most lonely city in the UK, with more than a quarter of all Londoners saying they feel lonely most, if not all of the time.
- A recent survey by TripAdvisor rated London as the second most unfriendly city in the world.
- No wonder it’s hard to make friends or meet people.
- When you do have a positive conversation with someone you don’t know, there’s something magical in the air that you can’t quite put your finger on. Something that means we trust each other, we look out for each other, we are connected and we’re happier as a result. We think London could only benefit from this shared sense of community.
We’ve piloted the Talk to me concept with the RSA (more information below) in New Cross. Have a look at the pictures and quotes below or on our website to give you a flavour of what Talk to me London day might be like:
"This is brilliant!! It's so valuable to share stories, experiences, lend an ear! Nothing like a good natter!"
"It was definitely a much more interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching the rugby"
"People really enjoyed themselves. We still have a few older gents coming in to the library since the event who now feel confident to come in for a little chat."
"I thought it was a really nice initiative and would be good to see more done in future"
"Mad but fun!"
See here for more - http://www.flickr.com/photos/talktomelondon/with/10531524434
AFTER THE DAY
We hope that Talk to me London Day 2014 is just the beginning of a movement to get London, and other places, talking. We want the day to create a lasting effect by raising awareness of the importance of talking and its effect on our well-being and sense of community. We also hope Talk to me London Day will become an annual event that grows in size and impact each year, and want to encourage people to organise activities that get people talking in their own neighbourhood. In time, we'd love to see the concept spread to other cities and even turn into a global day!
Talk to me London Day is a solution that we've created to specifically improve community connectedness and well-being in London, but in the longer term we also hope to create solutions that use talking to tackle other social problems. We all know intuitively that talking has immense power. One conversation can make us more open minded and understanding. One conversation can make us happier and lift our moods. One conversation can make us more self aware and question the way we act. Because of this we believe that talking based solutions have the potential to tackle big social problems including violence, discrimination, gender rights, loneliness, justice, mental health and many others. in time, we hope to create interventions that use talking to tackle these social problems.
WHO'S BACKED US SO FAR
We have piloted in New Cross with the help of the RSA’s Connected Communities team, who do research into how people’s social networks – who they are connected to and rely on – affect their health and well-being. Find out more about this work here.
We are proud to be featured on the RSA’s area on Kickstarter, which selects the best new ideas to help tackle social problems that their 27,000 Fellows are looking to launch. I’m an RSA Fellow and have been selected to be a part of this. Click here to see more RSA-backed projects and find out more about the RSA.
TALK TO US
If you're interested in learning more or getting involved in the day, please visit our website where you can also sign up for our newsletter - www.talktomelondon.org
Alternatively if you’ve any questions or just want to get in touch then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to talk to you!
WHERE WE'VE BEEN FEATURED
MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
"This is what made living in London not work for me. Crossing my fingers that this might help change something."
"Keep up the great work - I think what you are doing is essential to our world."
"I love this. I've never even been to London, but I backed this project just now. I think this is a problem in many cities across the world, and it would be wonderful to start changing our culture so that people actually talk to each other."
Risks and challenges
We know that encouraging people to talk to strangers does pose risks. We advise that people should only have conversations in public places and that if they ever feel uncomfortable they should leave the conversation. It's also really simple to take the badge off too if you don't feel like talking to the people around you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)