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Connect this Neighbour Day 2020

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by Belladonna (subscribe)
Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
The community you want begins at your front door

"The deepest truth about human beings also happens to be the sweetest and noblest truth about us: we are social beings. We absolutely need each other. We depend utterly on neighbourhoods, communities, families, groups of all kinds to nurture us, to protect us, and even give us a sense of our identity." Hugh Mackay

When I first moved to Canberra ten years ago, I hardly knew anybody. I had left the excitement of Sydney behind, I had left all of my beloved family and friends, to live in a new city. I had to start all over again and create new connections, find the places where I could feel a sense of belonging. Many of you would have been or are currently in the same position as I was. But it's not just moving to a new city or even country that makes you realise how much you really need other people. It's also when you start a new job or a new school, or when you move into a new suburb or neighbourhood or when you join a new sports team or club or when you start a new class or course. We crave connection with other people. That's just how humans are.

Unfortunately, Australia is currently in the midst of a loneliness crisis, with many in our population (whether they're new to a place or not) experiencing a deficit of social connection. According to a comprehensive report published in 2018 by the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, one in four Australians are lonely, with one in four also experiencing high levels of social interaction anxiety. What's more, three-quarters of Australians (75%) never or seldom have a neighbour available to talk to.

These grim statistics highlight just how important social connection is. Social connection is the theme of this year's Neighbour Day.
Connect this Neighbour Day 2020

Neighbour Day 2020
Held on the last Sunday in March every year and managed by Relationships Australia, Neighbour Day is Australia's annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood. The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Social connection also makes us feel better as it helps prevent loneliness, isolation and depression.
Connect this Neighbour Day 2020

There are many simple ways that we can connect to the people around us. Here are some ideas you might like to try this Neighbour Day.

  • Take the time to learn about your neighbour's interests or cultures. Your genuine interest might help create connections.

  • Seek out a community group that suits your interests a Men's shed, a knitting or sewing group, a running or riding club or start your own!

  • Volunteering is a great way to meet people. If you possess a skill, see how you could utilise it in your local community.

  • The gift of flowers, or a cutting from a plant, or extra produce from your garden, are low-cost ways to start a friendly conversation with your neighbour.

  • Schedule time in your calendar for checking in with family, friends and neighbours at least once a week. Try and stick to this commitment, as you would with anything else.

  • Try using social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram or Meetup) to join a community group to meet people near you.

  • Whether on the bus of a morning, in line for a coffee; always offer a smile or ask how someone's day is going.

  • Check in on your elderly neighbours, especially those who live alone.

  • Invite your neighbour for a walk and get them to share what they like about your neighbourhood.

  • If your kids go to the local school, get involved! Volunteer your time or join the school's Parents & Citizens group. It's a terrific way to meet other parents/carers.

  • Get to know your local shopkeepers they can be a wealth of knowledge on what's happening in your area, the best restaurants, pubs, cafes and even other shops. It's also nice to have a friendly face to talk to when you get your groceries.

    For many more ideas on how to connect with your community, please go here.
    Connect this Neighbour Day 2020

    Neighbour Day (and in fact every day of the year) is an opportunity to connect with the people around us and the communities in which we live.
    Get neighbourly and challenge yourself to create connections with your neighbours in 2020!

    "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
    Helen Keller

    For more ideas, information, fantastic resources and great tips on how to host Neighbour Day events in your community, please go to the Neighbour Day website here.
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    Why? Get neighbourly and challenge yourself to connect with your neighbours and your community in 2020
    When: Sunday, March 29, 2020
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