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13 March 2012

#Do1NiceThing every day in 2012

“I see week in and week out the difference people who care can make within the wider community - we need more of it!”

-Paul Blakey MBE, founder of Street Angels

by Asha Kurien

If you found yourself tweeting away vigorously last year using the hash tags #riotcleanup and #prayforlondon or nodding energetically as soon as you read the quote above, you will be encouraged to learn about the #Do1NiceThing campaign.

Launched recently by the Street Angels-CNI (Christian Nightlife Initiatives) Network in collaboration with HOPE, #Do1NiceThing is a vital part of their Love your Streets campaign for 2012. CNI envisions this project to inspire people to love their communities through acts of kindness, doing "one nice thing" each day.

The inspiration for this campaign came from a programme on Channel 4 on the London Underground in which an underground staff said that very rarely did people say positive things or thank them for the work they do but when they did it, it made such a difference. Watching the programme, Paul Blakey was challenged to realise that we now live in a fast paced culture where we are too busy on our mobiles and miss the common courtesy of simply saying thank you to those who serve us.

The Love Your Streets website chronicles numerous ideas that can make a positive impact on people around us. They range from simple acts of kindness such as the exchange of a smile, saying hello to a shop assistant and thanking the postman; to more daring ones such as: 

Healing On The Streets - Inspired by people from local churches in Northern Ireland who put up banners in their towns with the word "healing" on them, and waited underneath to express God's love to those who needed someone to talk to and pray with. Participants testified that their teams have now become part of the streetscape, with people traveling from as far as a hundred miles to receive healing from God. Visit www.out-there.org for more details. 

Random Acts of Kindness – Get motivated by projects like The Kindness Offensive, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation or even Danny Wallace's humourous book Random Acts of Kindness that include suggestions such as surprising the pizza delivery man by offering him a slice of your pizza and phoning someone at a call centre to tell them they are doing a good job.

Neighbourhood Watch – you can join or set up a neighbourhood watch scheme to improve the safety of your neighbourhood on www.mynhw.co.uk .

The #Do1NiceThing campaign coincides with 'A Year of Service', a government initiative that hopes to bring to light the voluntary service that faith groups carry out in their communities.  The campaign has inspired churches to organise clean-up days, volunteer with community projects and get involved in the Big Lunch initiative.

Additionally, the campaigners aim to support Brian McCarthy from the Christian Police Association who had a vision for 1 million acts of kindness across the UK in a day and they have set the challenge as part of The Queen's Jubilee Weekend on Friday, 1 June, to #1day1millionnicethings, encouraging people to tweet and facebook what they do. 

The Bible verse that most inspires CNI is the parable of the sheep and the goats in which Jesus said that on the day of the final judgment, he will say to the sheep: "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me." (Matthew 25:34-36)

For further ideas on how you can serve your community, visit www.loveyourstreets.org.uk or follow @loveyourstreets on Twitter.