By Nick Tebbey, National Executive Officer, Relationships Australia, March 21, 2023
Neighbour Day, the annual day of celebration and hallmark of Relationships Australia’s Neighbours Every Day campaign is finally here! On Sunday 26 March 2023, communities across Australia will come together to reflect and celebrate on the every day connections they have created.
We have been inspired by the number of events and neighbourly actions, both public and private that have been registered on our national register of events and neighbourly actions. These reflect a country where individuals, businesses, organisations and communities all recognize the importance of creating belonging. This Neighbour Day will see a range of street parties, community barbeques, town hall meetings and other events that mark the efforts of these passionate individuals.
But these large-scale events are only one part of the Neighbours Every Day campaign. Neighbour Day serves as a reminder that we can all take small, regular actions to connect with those around us. And research conducted by the Australian National University shows just how important those connections are. Communities where people feel a sense of belonging are more resilient, and their members enjoy a greater sense of mental wellbeing and reductions in loneliness – even during the tough times!
And when I reflect on this, and our theme this year: “Create Belonging”, I can’t help but delight at the individual stories we have heard, online, over the phone, and through our annual Tell Us Your Story Competition, that demonstrate the actions taken by every day members of the community to create belonging and build connection.
This year’s Tell Us Your Story winners shared stories of neighbourly get togethers, online communities, and neighbours rallying around to support each other when times were tough. They demonstrate that often it is the little things we do that can make a huge difference: in our own lives, and for those around us. Often, it is these small actions that organically grow into connected communities where people feel supported all year round, and through the tough times as well as the good times.
As we enter the final approach to Neighbour Day, I encourage everyone to read our winning Tell Us Your Story entries, and think about what you can do today, and every day, to create belonging in your communities.