Neighbour Day -presented by Relationships Australia – is celebrated on the last Sunday in March every year, with the aim of fostering personal connections that last the whole year-round. This year’s date is 29 March.
This year’s theme “Social Connection” centres on the loneliness crisis that has crept up on so many people. Everyone craves a sense of personal place and with relationships that provide communal purpose. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, so many of us have forgotten how to start. Our current public health crisis will magnify the loneliness issue for so many. Proactive neighbourly intervention can be a powerful force in reducing the loneliness and mental health impact for so many….receiver and giver alike.
Covid 19 has thrown a sizeable spanner in the works and public gatherings as we knew them, are for now are a thing of the past. Given the disconnection that we are all feeling, the need to reach out is even greater than normal. The notion of reaching out comes in many forms and most of them are still well within our proverbial reach (notwithstanding the “social distancing” default).
Something as simple as a friendly “g’day” to a neighbour over the back fence may be the start of a liberating, joyous journey. Be courageous…you may have never spoken to your neighbour but different times can spawn a different, positive approach. Buried within the sophisticated capacity of the modern smart phone is that wonderful invention of Alexander Graham Bell – the telephone. Pick it up, dial a neighbour or friend and have a chat. A random act of kindness….if you know of someone who might potentially be struggling in your neighbourhood, what about putting a note in their letterbox to infirm them that someone local is thinking of them and available to lend a hand as required ( be sure to leave your phone number on the note)?
A crisis like this that affects us all has the capacity to re-shape our neighbourhood dynamic for the better, in the long run. Eventually the sun will shine brightly upon a more locally connected world.
Fostering a sense of belonging within the new communities that we work with, is a fundamental pillar of My Neighbourhood’s approach. That is why we applaud the Neighbour Day initiative as a stepping stone to personal and community wellness.