Experiment to find out how close community is

Bobbi Murray, Kay Robertson and Bob Baldie pass the parcel. 'Copyright Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES' ' ''''' '' ' ''''''
Bobbi Murray, Kay Robertson and Bob Baldie pass the parcel. 'Copyright Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES' ' ''''' '' ' ''''''

Voluntary Action Angus is setting out to replicate a famous social experiment to see how closely connected the communities of Brechin and Kirriemuir are.

In an echo of Stanley Milgram’s “small world experiment” in 1967, the group are looking to answer the question - how connected are we?

The experiment will take place in the both towns during August and will follow Milgram’s six degrees of separation concept.

Six parcels will be posted to a random selection of people in Brechin and Kirriemuir on August 15 (which would have been Milgram’s 81st birthday). The parcels will be addressed to another randomly selected person in that area.

If you receive a parcel all you have to do is give it to someone who you know by first name and who you think may be closer to the person the parcel is intended for.

The only other request by Voluntary Action Angus is that you let them know who you were and who you gave the parcel to via a prepaid addressed postcard, so that they can track the parcels journey.

With constant daily bombardment through the media of disconnected communities, broken neighbourhoods and fractured places Voluntary Action Angus wants to prove that here, in Angus this is not the case.

The results of the experiment will help Voluntary Action Angus map social connections within Kirriemuir and Brechin. Connections which they believe are at the very heart of a healthy, caring community.

Rachel Green, social policy manager, said: “My experience working in communities across Angus means that I don’t believe that we are in crisis, what I do believe however is that we need to work with communities recognising their complexity, dynamism and creativity and especially their ability to solve problems.

“Too often conversations are begun with “What’s the matter with where you live” instead of “what has where you live got to offer”

“This is a kind of fun and unusual way to kick off our civic health projects in Kirriemuir and Brechin. We want to use the results of the experiment to bring people together, to show how they are connected in ways they may not know.”

At the same time as the experiment, Kay Robertson, Voluntary Action Angus’s youth development worker is offering a challenge to all young people on Facebook to work out how they are connected to their ‘mutual friends’ and how many connections there are between them.

If you want to find out more about the experiments or Voluntary Action Angus’ Civic Health Projects please contact Rachel Green or Kay Robertson on 01307 466113 or email rachel@voluntaryactionangus.org.uk/kay@voluntaryactionangus.org.uk