Thinking a street party or a community event would be the best way to celebrate this year’s Neighbour Day on Sunday, 31 March?

Now is a good time to start planning, and local residents should contact their local council for planning assistance where permission is required.

Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community that encourages people to connect with those who live nearby. 

The theme for Neighbour Day 2019 is ‘Loneliness- what neighbours can do to create connections’.

This year, all Australians are encouraged to reach out to the vulnerable and lonely members of their community to create a connection – whether it’s a few friendly words across the back fence, inviting your elderly neighbour in for a cuppa, organising a community get-together, or stopping for a chat when you’re walking the dog.

We tend to think of lonely people as old, or single people living alone. But loneliness is experienced by people across the age and social spectrum, including young people, people living with their families, and even people surrounded by others in the workplace.

It is critical that we reinvigorate our communities, get people to connect with their neighbours and in doing so, put a dent in loneliness.  That’s what Neighbour Day is all about.

Tony King, President of the Aldinga Bay Residents Association, said “Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can and do change communities. Social connection makes us feel better as it helps prevent loneliness, isolation and depression.”

Your Neighbour Day action can be as big or small as you’d like. You can organise an event on your own or work with a group of neighbours, or host an event for your street or suburb. Neighbourhood event ideas include: a BYO everything street gathering; a game of cricket in the local park; a barbie at the end of the cul-de-sac; a party on the front lawn; afternoon tea in the back paddock; a picnic; or an outdoor movie – just to name a few.

You could also keep it very small and make a pledge to yourself to introduce yourself to a new neighbour or have a yarn to someone you haven’t spoken to before in your street.  You may just drop off a kind note to neighbours with a young family, or invite them over for a cuppa. You can never have too many friends around you and your note or invitation may make a significant difference to the life of your neighbour.

Everything you need to help facilitate your Neighbour Day event is now available on the neighbourday.org website.  You can also connect with Neighbour Day via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts to share your neighbourhood stories and exciting plans.  You can download a Neighbour Day sign from the Neighbour Day website for selfies and post your neighbourly pics on your favourite social media platform.

Neighbour Day is brought to you by Relationships Australia, a national not for profit organisation that works to improve relationships in all their forms. www.relationships.org.au