I still need the neighbourhood

Now that community has moved, in Richard Reeves's words, "from the neighbourhood into the office" ("We bowl alone, but work together", 2 April), what happens to those not of working age or not in paid employment? Perhaps they should be reclassified as displaced people. From experience, I know that the office offers a ready-made community based on shared career interests, age range and social status; and now that (some) work has become more fun than fun, it is not surprising that people find the office more congenial than the neighbourhood, where forming relationships can demand more effort and commitment. But as a parent working freelance, with a partner frequently travelling for work, I know which community is standing by ready to help when I need it: the boring old neighbourhood. But at least I now know what to tell my children when faced with the closure of their scout troops and youth clubs: get a job.

Claire O'Beirne
Amersham, Buckinghamshire

This article first appeared in the 09 April 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Duel for the Tube