Insights / Neighbours Every Day

Neighbours Every Day 

By Bekah Baynard-Smith

March 1 2024

Who are your neighbours, and how well do you know them? Can you turn to them in times of trouble? Can they turn to you?  

Being connected with neighbours is great in the good times but even better in challenging times.  

At the end of March every year, neighbourhoods around Australia come together to mark ‘Neighbours Every Day,’ an initiative of Relationships Australia. The event is a yearly reminder that neighbourly connections should be formed and strengthened all year round, not just one day a year. 

Across the country, neighbours gather for barbecues on their street, at their local park or community centre. It’s a time to remember and recognise the isolation and loneliness that can exist in communities and to celebrate all the good things that come from knowing your neighbours (aside from cups of sugar and free lemons!).  

Looking back on my own experience, being connected to my neighbours has made me more disaster resilient and generally a happier person. When our houses were inundated in a flash flood, we banded together to get sandbags, empty out the water, mop each other’s floors and book in specialist cleaners. We (safely) celebrated birthdays over the fence during COVID-19 lockdowns and looked out for one another, even calling paramedics to provide life-saving support when needed. 

The benefits we can all get from knowing our neighbours, even if it’s just a name and number saved on our phone, could be lifelines in emergencies. 

At Resilient Ready, we celebrate neighbourly connections every day. We just have fancy terms for it – social capital and social infrastructure.  

In our work, we acknowledge and prioritise people connections and places people connect, especially social businesses. Cafes, neighbourhood houses, parks and libraries are critical for building community and even street-level resilience. The corner milk bar, church, school and pub are the ‘bumping places’ often overlooked for their role in cultivating a sense of community.  

Together with global social capital expert Professor Daniel Aldrich and SAFECOM, we’re excited to deliver a South Australian snapshot on Social Capital and Social Infrastructure. This is a milestone opportunity to better understand and measure the role of connections, places and programs as the backbone for resilience.  

Through our flagship program, the Business Community Resilience Toolkit, more than 800 micro and small businesses around Australia have studied our micro-learning module on being a ‘Next Door Saviour.’ Being a good neighbour isn’t just for the home; it’s for work, too. Whether it’s a power outage, flood or even a break-in, being connected to your business neighbour is more helpful than you might think. 

As Professor Daniel Aldrich says, “Connected communities are more resilient than affluent communities.”  

Let’s all work together to be a good neighbour – every day. 

For further information on Neighbours Every Day, including resources and ideas to celebrate, visit: Neighbours Every Day 

Additional resources:  Red Cross Stay Connected Toolkit 

Resilient Ready is a social enterprise delivering innovative solutions to enable every organisation to thrive before, during and after disasters. To keep updated on news and current projects, sign up to our newsletter.