Neighbour Day 2024: Creating Belonging, Sharing Belonging

04 Mar 2024
Neighbour Day 2024: Creating Belonging, Sharing Belonging

We all need each other to belong.  

Our neighbours play a large part in our sense of community, safety, and social support, and for some people, they are a crucial to having a happy and fulfilling life.

Fostering these community connections and building respectful relationships is the aim of Relationship Australia’s Neighbours Every Day campaign. The day of action for this campaign is Neighbour Day - Australia’s annual celebration, held on the last Sunday of March.

This year, Neighbour Day falls on Easter Sunday, 31st March 2024 and focuses on the theme ‘Create Belonging, Share Belonging’ – a call to action for everyone to work together to create belonging: for ourselves, for our families and for our neighbours.  

We can do this by focusing on genuine inclusion and connection, making others welcome, and by challenging ourselves to connect through empathy and compassion.

Through this, we can create respectful relationships that last.

How Can You Share Belonging This Neighbour Day?

Some people find it difficult to connect, so here are 5 simple tips to establish respectful relationships with those around you.

  • Start with a smile - make it a habit to flash a friendly smile or say hello, even in chaotic moments - it is sure to make a difference!
  • The initial chat - strike up a conversation with a genuine compliment, or a query - this can be a great icebreaker.
  • Follow up - next time you catch each other, follow up on what you spoke about last time - this shows your interest and people will generally appreciate feeling listened to.
  • Kind gestures - kind gestures are the ideal way to build positive connections, so consider what you might be able to offer e.g. bring in their bins, water their garden, or share surplus produce or cuttings.
  • Host an event - organise a Neighbour Day get together or do something nice for a neighbour – think of something your neighbours might enjoy e.g. BBQ, morning tea, some friendly games, or perhaps leave a thoughtful note. If you can’t do this on Neighbour Day, do it whenever it is convenient for you.

Why share belonging?

  • Belonging doesn’t happen alone: A group identity gives us a sense of identity, purpose, and validation. We can’t create a group on our own. We must invite others ‘in’.
  • Mental health and wellbeing: Creating and sharing belonging is an antidote to loneliness. Our research shows that the Neighbours Every Day campaign reduces loneliness and fosters mental health and wellbeing.
  • Self-growth: Sharing belonging requires individuals and communities to invite others in. It requires people to step out of their comfort zone, practise self-reflection, empathy, and compassion.
  • Stronger, more resilient communities: Diverse communities where people feel like they belong are more likely to work together to overcome obstacles and adapt to changes. They are more likely to have a range of skills and experiences that can help them respond to challenges and opportunities. They also feel comfortable calling on each other for help when needed.
  • Inclusive and diverse communities: Sharing a sense of belonging encourages diverse groups to come together and appreciate each other's unique perspectives. They break down barriers, creating an environment where people from all backgrounds feel valued.
  • It makes life more interesting: Diversity makes us more creative, innovative, and inspired. Different experiences generate different ideas.
  • Better decision-making and conflict resolution: It's difficult to consider all the possibilities if you have never had the experience. People who have different life experiences to you often have different problems, opportunities, and solutions. In times of conflict, when diversity is respected, shared values and common humanity can be found.
  • Inspire others: Sharing belonging not only benefits individuals and communities, but it also has a positive ripple effect on society. When groups see others stepping up to the challenge and transforming their behaviour, they feel inspired to do the same.
  • Relationship Satisfaction: The benefits of belonging extend beyond just to those who feel newly included. Having diverse relationships improves everyone’s relationship satisfaction, mental health, and wellbeing.
  • Enhance Generosity: Sharing is an act of generosity that can bring joy and satisfaction to both the giver and the receiver – AND this includes sharing belonging!

Let's make Neighbour Day 2024 a day to remember by creating belonging and sharing belonging with our neighbours and communities. Together, we can build a more connected, resilient, and inclusive society.

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