By Juliano Oliveira
An Australian website is proposing a challenge that intends to take people from their loneliness by encouraging a better relationship between neighbours.
“Neighbour Day is looking to flip the loneliness discussion to get Australians to focus instead on the importance of belonging – to start people thinking about how they can put their energy into creating positive and meaningful social connections outside of their regular groups and relationships,” said Nick Tebbey, National Executive Officer, Relationships Australia.
He draws attention to the fact that the country is in the midst of a loneliness crisis, with a large part of the population experiencing a deficit of social connection.
“We are asking everyone to connect with someone in their local community each week up until Neighbour Day on 29 March, and beyond.
“It could be a small action – a few friendly words across the back fence, inviting an elderly neighbour in for a cuppa, organising a community get-together, or stopping for a chat when walking the dog. Or it could be a larger scale gesture – organising a big neighbourhood BBQ, engaging the neighbours in a street fair, or putting on a community concert.”
“Whether these social connections start with a one-off moment or a regular calendar of events, we know that even the smallest of interactions can create lasting one-to-one relationships and become the starting point for ongoing groups, ” said Mr Tebbey.
The social connection theme builds on the work done by Relationships Australia in 2018 to raise awareness of the loneliness crisis facing Australia.
Last-Year research conducted in partnership with the Australian National University showed that, after getting involved in Neighbour Day, people felt less lonely and more connected to their neighbours.
“At Neighbour Day, we believe that we can all take steps to help address this loneliness crisis and the best place to start is by reaching out to our neighbours and helping them to create connections in our local communities.”
“We are enlisting the help of our Neighbour Day Ambassadors and Very Neighbourly Organisations across the country to inspire all Australians to take on the Challenge to Create Connections and we will be providing some tips of our own via social media, throughout the month of March,” Mr Tebbey said.
“The community you want starts at your front door.”