Real Happiness

Communities that play together stay together! Communities that play together stay together!

The very happy people spend the least time alone and the most time socialisingMartin Seligman, Authentic Happiness

Friendships are made through shared interests. Being involved with community groups, voluntary organisations and team sports builds trust in your community.

Blaxhall Rovers concert party c.1950. The group travelled around the Deben area performing in village halls
Blaxhall Rovers concert party c.1950.
The group travelled around the Deben
area performing in village halls.
In his influential book Bowling Alone, (2000), the American sociologist Robert Putnam carried out a study over 25 years. It showed that despite the same numbers of people participating in sports or religious activity, fewer people belonged to organised associations. More Americans were bowling than ever before, but far fewer in leagues – they were Bowling Alone.

In the UK the picture is mixed. Membership of associations has not fallen. Many people belong to large national organisations such as the National Trust or the RSPB.

Local Clubs

The champion Theberton quoits team c.1920, unfortunately we do not know which competition they won.
The champion Theberton quoits
team c.1920, unfortunately
we do not know which
competition they won.

However at local level many clubs and societies are changing. Quoits was a game played widely in Suffolk, and most villages with a pub would have a team. Today there are a handful of teams in the county.

For the game of quoits, a bed of clay was laid down as a target; the quoits, made by the blacksmith, varied in size, but the average for men weighed three pounds. Village competed with village, and many a turn must have been played outside the local‘Life and Tradition in Suffolk and North-East Essex’ by Norman Smedley, (1976)


There was an awful viciousness at times. It could be persecution. People who were a little bit different would leave, or just disappear after a while and go somewhere else. Until 30 years ago a rural village could be a very difficult place to live for some people.” Ronald Blyth, writer in ‘Return to Akenfield, Portrait of an English Village in the 21st Century’ by Craig Taylor (2006)

Somewhere to Meet

Village associations thrive when they have somewhere to meet. Since the mid 1990s the National Lottery has funded the refurbishment of countless village halls and community centres.

We use the village hall every week, we do our Christmas plays down there. We use the church for our services and lots of the community, especially elder members of the community, come in and join us. If you took the school out of the community......there would be a huge gap.Jackie Lomas, Headteacher in ‘Return to Akenfield, Portrait of an English Village in the 21st Century’ by Craig Taylor (2006)

A poster from a four-villages fete in Essex c.1950
A poster from a four-villages fete in Essex c.1950

 

This exhibition is part of a wider sustainability project delivered through the Rural Museums East Partnership. It is funded by Renaissance East of England.

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