It has been great to see such a warm, neighbourly response to the recent spate of antisocial behaviour and petty crime in Fairfield. Coming together to protect one another against (assumed) outsiders has given another boost to community cohesion. The festive season is also very much in swing, with residents putting on extra special displays this year to cheer up themselves and their neighbours after a difficult year. Let’s not let small acts of thoughtlessness have the opposite effect.

Fairfield has the best bottle banks: you can take the lid right off them and crash in a whole load of bottles at once rather than feeding them one by one. It’s easy to understand why you might prefer to do this under cover of darkness, but here’s the thing: 10 o’clock at night or 6 o’clock in the morning probably isn’t the most neighbourly time. (Just for clarity, it’s still not the most neighbourly time if you only have one bottle to deposit.)

Are the folks who visit out of hours trying to wake every baby within a 100-metre radius? Probably not, but for those residents living nearby the sound may be almost as grating as the screech of the mopeds, and the fact that it’s the fifth night in a row won’t help either. Please try to keep the Christmas party tidy-up to between 8am and 8pm, like the sign says. 

On a somewhat related note: if the bottle bank is full, take your bottles elsewhere – other bottle banks are available! (And you can use them during daylight hours without your neighbours knowing how much you drink.) The Memorial Hall in Stotfold and Sainsbury’s in Letchworth offer convenient alternatives.

One of the other great things about Fairfield is the telephone box library. What a fabulous resource this is! Free books to borrow and an opportunity to share favourites with others.

The great thing about books is that they can be read over and over again – so there’s sure to be someone who will appreciate your hand-me-downs. The problem is, tiny community libraries like this have very limited space and nobody on hand to curate the collection. 

As a community project it relies on those who use it to also look after it, and that includes being brutally honest about whether anyone else is going to be interested in the books you’re donating. If they’re not, they are just going to sit there until 2052 taking up valuable shelf space – so if it’s niche, find it a niche somewhere else. And speaking of shelf space: if there isn’t any, there isn’t any. As with the bottle bank, wait or go elsewhere.

We’re lucky enough to have a few very community-spirited individuals who step in occasionally to give the whole thing a clear-out, but they shouldn’t really have to, if we all did our bit to stop it getting like this.