The group was initially created to relocate lost friends. The group was born on 18th December 2015 and those that joined were either friends of the creators or mutual friends of them. It was decided, initially to only allow friends of friends to join. So we could truly say that everyone in the group, is a friend of someone else in the group.
In the first few months, we quickly learnt that the photos being uploaded were being used with dementia care, helping people reconnect with their memories. Some of the photographs have been used at the West Suffolk Hospital in their Memory Walk.
We came up with the slogan “Collective Community Memory”. The code of conduct gives a greater understanding of this unique concept.
We aim to avoid politics and similar topics which might be perceived as divisive topics, however, that’s not to say we don’t bash out a few issues!
We do not allow defamatory or harassing comments to other members. This not only would go against our code, but also the rules of Facebook itself.
By thinking in terms of “Community Collective Memory”, we have engaged in discussions about photos of places, and times in our lives when we have experienced Bury St Edmunds. Without the use of family photographs, which would not be of interest to the majority, but by using posts and commenting to enable people to read others conversations, see their names and reconnect with long lost family and friends.
By following this method, friends have been able to re-establish contacts with lost friends upwards of 60 years apart.
We currently are now very proud that it is not only the older community who are involved, but the group has also sparked an interest in some of the younger generation, who see the value of the older members to learn the social history of the town.
Going forward, we have created a website, using the best stories and the best photographs from the group, to share with the world outside of Facebook. You don’t need to be a member to be involved as our website allows discussions from the world community.
All photographs and stories which are used from the group will have a credit to the owner and remain the property of the owners. If you wish to use any of these from the website or from the Facebook group, please credit the photo/article provider and also “We Love Bury St Edmunds!” We also request that you link your website to ours.
When new members try to join the Facebook Group, we either approve or decline access. We always approve people who we can see have friends, or mutual friends within the group, however sometimes, maybe due to privacy settings, Facebook does not show us as Admin that a person has any connection with those already established members. We have updated our policy, and now we also automatically approve people that show a connection with Bury St Edmunds on their Facebook profiles.
By using this method, we have been able to prevent cyber attacks and spam, and maintain the close knit community who have a connection with the town.
So far, we believe that 21,500 people can’t be wrong.
Since reaching 13,000 members, our group has again increased to over 22,000 as we relaxed our “friends” rule, and allowed people to join who show a connection with Bury St Edmunds. And d’you know what? We are STILL increasing in size..