It's Neighbour Day

23 Mar, 2018

Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood.

Officially held on the last Sunday in March – this year it’s 25 March - Neighbour Day can be celebrated on any day of March, with many streets and neighbourhoods across Australia choosing a different date to celebrate.

This year, our theme is all about children and young people and the importance of providing them with a supportive neighbourhood.

“Children and young people feel safer and more secure when they know the people who live around them,” said Alison Brook, National Executive Officer of Relationships Australia.

“As adults we need to be creating communities where children and young people feel welcome and people help each other to create safe and inclusive neighbourhoods - after all it takes a neighbourhood to raise a child,” Ms Brook said.

“Current research shows that a young person’s sense of place and attachment to a local community can help them to develop resilience, strong personal identity and social connections.

“It is these social connections that may make a real difference to young people during challenging times.

“Young people’s life opportunities are also heavily influenced by the relationships they develop with their family, neighbours and community, as well as the public places and services they can access.

“It’s important we build positive relationships with the children and families in our neighbourhood, where we can.

“Smile, say hello, remember their names and listen to them when needed. It’s good for everyone - both young and old - to be involved in their local community.

“Relationships Australia is responsible for Neighbour Day and we see it as an ongoing opportunity to remind people about the importance of community connection.

“Our Neighbourly networks help us engage many more Australians in this national celebration of social inclusion and social connection – in both big and small ways.

“We have a growing number of Very Neighbourly Organisations including Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, R U OK?, Nabo, Conservation Volunteers Australia and regional and local councils. They are taking a key role in promoting and/or hosting and organising neighbourhood events across the nation,” Ms Brook said.

Neighbour Day events can be big or small, from a chat with the people next door, to a barbecue with everyone in the street. From a ‘bring a plate’ street party, a neighbourhood game of cricket on the local oval, a party on the front lawn or afternoon tea in the local park.

The Neighbour Day website, neighbourday.org, contains helpful hints for communities looking to host neighbour day events including posters, calling and connection cards, selfie and event signs and invitations.

Neighbour Day was founded in 2003 by an Australian community activist Andrew Heslop who was shocked when the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home more than two years after her death. In response, Andrew began co-ordinating a national ‘Check on Your Neighbour Day’. He handed responsibility for Neighbour Day to Relationships Australia in 2014.

You can follow Neighbour Day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to hear what others are doing in preparation for the big day.


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