By Claire Matthews
Relationships Australia has just awarded a prize to an outstanding community organisation, through their Communities Connected program, as part of Neighbour Day.
The Communities Connected initiative received numerous submissions demonstrating how various groups across the country supported their communities during the pandemic.
The most outstanding entry came from regional Tasmania, where Live Well Tasmania has fostered connection in its northwest region to decrease social isolation and improve health and wellbeing.
Live Well Tasmania runs various activities for members of its community, including a drop-in service, classes and group activities and other initiatives. The group proves that even a tiny community can find ways of connecting and supporting each other when times are tough.
On Tuesday, 4 May, Live Well Tasmania was presented with the major prize, generously donated by Andrew Heslop and LG, by Relationships Australia Tasmania CEO Dr Michael Kelly, and Relationships Australia National Executive Officer, Nick Tebbey.
“All Australians have endured a difficult year, and the most outstanding entries in this year’s Communities Connected showcase demonstrate just some of the ways the community organisations have proven invaluable within their neighbourhoods.
“The initiatives of these organisations, and the resilience and creativity they have demonstrated throughout the pandemic are great examples of the Neighbour Day spirit in action,” said Mr Tebbey.
Two community groups were awarded Neighbour Day prize packs in recognition of their inspirational work, Neighbourhood Watch NT and Empowering Plantagenet Seniors.
Neighbourhood Watch NT adapted its delivery model to create free and accessible resources for its community, promoting a range of ways that Territorians could connect in safe, sustainable ways throughout the pandemic.
Empowering Plantagenet Seniors is a team of volunteers who work tirelessly to support local seniors in a range of crucial ways. From grocery drop-offs through to community gatherings, this group has ensured local seniors remain connected and kept throughout the pandemic, combatting social isolation and enhancing community wellbeing.
Mr Tebbey said Neighbour Day highlighted the important role community groups play in providing a social connection.
“Neighbour Day 2021 was an opportunity to think about social connection in all its forms, and the Communities Connected initiative demonstrates that no matter where we are in Australia, there are brilliant examples that can inspire and connect communities – every day.
“While it is crucial that we all heed public health advice (which varies from location to location), we encourage people to reach out to their communities and come together in ways they may not have previously thought possible.”