A journey from Neighbour Day to Neighbours Every Day – create belonging in your community

Oct 4, 2022 | Blog

Neighbours Every Day

You may have noticed that we’ve had a bit of a ‘makeover’ here at Neighbour Day. While our mission remains the same, our messages and resources are just a little bit different – and we hope even more helpful.

We’ve been saying for some years now that “Every day is neighbour day!” While that mantra gained great traction, the research and stakeholder feedback told us that we needed to do more.

In recognition of the importance of maintaining respectful relationships on every day of the year; Relationships Australia has reframed Neighbour Day as a national, year-long campaign – known as Neighbours Every Day.

Neighbours Every Day is the next evolution of Relationships Australia’s Neighbour Day social connection campaign, which has operated in Australia for twenty years, promoting the benefits of well-connected and resilient communities.

Our plan is to promote the importance of social connection, and focus on capacity building initiatives all year round, while also continuing to celebrate a dedicated call-to-action day [aka Neighbour Day] each year on the last Sunday in March.

Neighbours Every Day is about empowering everyone in Australia (and beyond!) to build respectful and supportive relationships with their community.  Research shows us that when people connect with their communities, they have a greater sense of belonging, which leads to improved mental well-being and a reduction in loneliness. It also contributes to strength and resilience in the face of external pressures (such as the COVID pandemic and associated lockdowns; and extreme weather events).

Why Neighbours Every Day?

During the COVID pandemic, the need for all of us to have strong social support networks has never been more apparent. So too, has been the strength and resilience we draw from others when we ‘belong’.

During this time, we also saw a reframing of the idea of “who is a neighbour”: from traditional concepts of the people ‘next door’, through to a much broader community of people with shared interests. These are the people from whom we each draw our much-needed support and inspiration. These people can be in our community, online, or even overseas. It is not about physical locality, but rather creating a sense of community wherever (and however) that may be.

These shifts, coupled with feedback from previous Neighbour Day participants and our valued stakeholders, prompted us to think about how best to ensure this crucial messaging extends to each and every day of the year.

For many people, Neighbour Day has been viewed as a single day event – and while the response has always been inspiring, the reframing of our campaign to Neighbours Every Day recognises the significant positive impacts that can flow from making sustainable, lasting connections, every day of the year.

The annual ‘call to action day’ Neighbour Day will continue on the last Sunday in March each year. In 2023, Neighbour Day will take place on 26 March.

Help us “Create Belonging”

The theme for Neighbours Every Day is “Create Belonging” – a call to action for everyone in Australia  (individuals, community groups, business and governments) to take every day actions that create social connection and foster respectful relationships. We can all work to create belonging: for ourselves, for our families and for our neighbours. We can do this by focusing on inclusion and connection, making others welcome, and by building respectful relationships with those around us.

To create belonging is an opportunity to reflect. Belonging doesn’t come easily. True inclusion and lasting connection take consideration and practice. In 2023, Neighbours Every Day will be asking everyone to consider how we can create respectful relationships with everyone in our community.

Research tells us that social isolation and loneliness are detrimental to mental and physical health. During the COVID Pandemic this has become abundantly clear. When people are lonely, or feel as if they don’t belong, they may lack a sense of purpose, or feel that they are a burden on others.

However, Relationships Australia’s research has demonstrated that the negative effects of loneliness and social isolation can be countered by social connection and creating a sense of belonging through the Neighbours Every Day campaign.

When we feel we don’t belong, we may need to reach out for support. This can be informal, through our existing networks, or with the help of professional support services, such as those provided by Relationships Australia.

Why get involved?

  • Creating belonging by building and maintaining respectful relationships can change communities and has a positive effect on people’s wellbeing.
  • Well-connected neighbourhoods are better equipped to face and recover from emergencies and natural disasters.
  • A sense of belonging and connectedness can come from a large range of shared interests and activities, mutual support and genuine interest for others.
  • 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.

The Neighbours Every Day campaign provides simple, practical tools to create belonging, each and every day of the year. So we invite you to join with us and help create belonging – every day.