Neil Perry, Romsey Mill's Chief Executive wrote this feature, which appeared as a Foreword in the Autumn 2023 issue of Mill News, exploring what is behind the question: "How are you?"

Neil Perry

Neil Perry, CEO of Romsey Mill, writes:

Greetings play an essential part in our shared social lives.

The question "How are you?" can be another way to say hello. Or it can be a caring enquiry about individual wellbeing. Depending on the setting you are in and who you are talking to, the question “How are you?” may be a conversation starter that offers an open door for a deeper moment of connection.

A variation on this question, also frequently employed as a greeting, is the question “How’s it going?”. This too might be intended as a supportive expression of individual concern – are you feeling good and functioning well.

Or “it” could be an enquiry about community wellbeing – being well together.

Individual and community wellbeing are both vital matters. Current evidence on the relationships between different aspects of our lives and individual wellbeing identifies categories that have the greatest impact.

As individuals, we can distinguish between external factors that affect our lives, and our own internal mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Community wellbeing should capture something that is more than the sum of individual parts.

If we only aggregate individual experiences, we miss the experience of ‘being well together’ as a key part of our lives, and of community.

For example, research has been undertaken which demonstrates that inequality within and between communities undermines claims to
community wellbeing.(1)

Through the connections and relationships that are at the heart of Romsey Mill’s activities, the individual wellbeing of young people, children, family members and others is being strengthened. As we continue, the Romsey Mill team is keen to create more opportunities for people with different experiences living in the same places to come together, to improve community wellbeing together.

I have been enjoying a podcast recently, recommended to me by Tim Hall who is Development Organiser for Cambridge Citizens. The
Listen, Organize, Act podcast focuses on the history and contemporary practice of community organising and includes many fascinating first-hand stories.(2)

Luke Bretherton the host of the podcast says this:

“Listening and organizing generate the means of coming together, but at a certain point people must act together to move the world as it is towards becoming a more just and generous one in which all may flourish.”

The first Public Assembly of Cambridge Citizens will be taking place in November 2023. If you are curious about organising and want to get a sense of what a civic alliance does, you’d be most welcome to come along. Details can be found online 

In our Autumn 2023 issue of Mill News, there are also many stories about different people, places, and projects with which Romsey Mill connect.

Romsey Mill is all about people acting together to move the world as it is towards becoming a more just and generous one in which all may flourish.

Stories shape our lives and I hope that reading some of ours will encourage you to know that your participation and support is greatly appreciated and gratefully received.

Neil Perry,  Chief Executive of Romsey Mill