Neighbour Day was on Sunday 31 March, however every day should, and can, be Neighbour Day.
Neighbour Day was founded in Melbourne in 2003 after the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home … she had been dead for two years, forgotten by her neighbours, friends and family. As a result Andrew Heslop founded Neighbour Day and made it his mission to connect neighbours so it wouldn’t happen again.
This year Neighbour Day focuses on combating loneliness through connection in communities. Statistics show that loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26 % and is often associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and the onset of disability.
This is something we can all act on; it just takes a little of our time, but can make a huge difference. You never know, it might just be the beginning of a special friendship.
Some of Relationships Australia’s tips for getting to know your neighbours better:
- Smile, wave and say hello to neighbours; even stop for a chat
- Connect through gardening i.e. share produce, seeds, cuttings etc.
- Visit a neighbour who is housebound
- Welcome new neighbours when they move in
- Start a neighbourhood walking group or street library
- Celebrate special event days with neighbours; i.e. Easter egg hunt
- Check if there are volunteering opportunities at a local school or sports club