How to celebrate Neighbour Day

Relationships Australia, as the home of Neighbour Day, encourages people across all communities to build and strengthen their social connections. Because every day is neighbour day.

Neighbour Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in March every year with the aim of fostering strong personal connections that last beyond the day.

The official theme for Neighbour Day 2021 is ‘Every day is neighbour day’ – building on the growing movement of people taking neighbourly actions every day of the year and the changing concept of what it means to be a neighbour.

Neighbours matter (whether near, far, or online), and now, more than ever, is the time to find creative connections and to stay connected.

Whether through a cuppa, a picnic in the park, a neighbourly action, or a message of support, Neighbour Day is the perfect opportunity to reach out to your neighbours.

Connected people connect communities

Neighbour Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in March every year with the aim of fostering strong personal connections that last beyond the day.

The official theme for Neighbour Day 2021 is ‘Every day is neighbour day’ – building on the growing movement of people taking neighbourly actions every day of the year.

Whether through a cuppa, a picnic in the park, a neighbourly action, or a message of support, Neighbour Day is the perfect opportunity to reach out to your neighbours, both near and far.

Who is a neighbour?

The word ‘neighbour’ has undergone a revival during last summer’s bushfires and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the term ‘neighbour’ is well understood as someone who supports others in times of need. someone who picks up shopping or other essentials for others. Someone who checks in regularly to make sure people are ok. Someone who volunteers to help those needing support. A neighbour can be someone in your street, or the wider community, your workplace, or online. Maybe in Australia, perhaps overseas.

Neighbours connect and provide support to those living next door and to those further away. We have the capacity to build communities beyond our physical locations. Neighbours can be anyone.

What will Neighbour Day 2021 be like?

At the time of writing [1Oct20], popping into a neighbour’s place for a cuppa (for many) is no longer easy – and in fact in many cases, not advised, nor even allowed. Catch-ups at local parks, gyms, cafés, restaurants and bars are limited, and mask-wearing (for very good reasons) is becoming the norm in many states.

We don’t know what changes might occur between now and Neighbour Day 2021. We hope that circumstances will permit some of the traditional events of previous Neighbour Day campaigns, however, if that is not possible we all need to find other ways to stay connected.

How do we stay connected & keep everyone safe?

We all have to do our very best to get creative and make daily efforts to connect with those around us and further afield, to actively support each other – of course, taking into account the current public health advice.

Neighbour Day encourages everyone to think broadly about connection. You may feel inclined to connect with family, friends, neighbours – even people you don’t yet know.

Creativity and the courage to contribute and build your neighbourly interactions is key.

The following information is provided to help those who are able to participate safely* in the more traditional events for Neighbour Day 2021 and/or safely* undertake neighbourly actions.

Pick a time and place

Whether it’s a cuppa with a few people or a barbecue for your block, your Neighbour Day can be as big or small as you’d like. Decide what’s manageable. If possible, pick a communal area (such as the front lawn or car park), rather than inside an apartment or house. This will be less intimidating for residents who don’t know many people and it will encourage more people to join in.

Or you may choose to take some neighbourly action, like dropping off a calling card, connection card or another message of support or thanks to a neighbour.

Register your event

We encourage everyone organising a Neighbour Day event or those who are planning on doing some neighbourly action, to register online.

By registering, you are putting up your hand to show that you and your neighbours want to create something; connected, healthy, inclusive, supportive and resilient neighbourhoods. The online registration form takes about 30 seconds to complete.

By registering, you:

  • get access to our free resource e-kit  to help make organising your event easy
  • help us to see where and how many people are joining in and work out how we can best support you
  • keep up to date on neighbourly news and ideas
  • go into the draw to win special Neighbour Day prizes

If you prefer not to register your support, you can still access the Neighbour Day 2021 free resources.

Thanks in advance for getting involved and creating connections!

Work as a group

Get some neighbours involved in the planning and work out what needs to be done – invitations, publicity, food, name tags, balloons and cleaning up.

Get children involved – they love a party!

Invite your neighbours

Register from 10 October 2021 to download the Neighbour Day poster on to A4 or A3 along with the invitations. Just add the time, place and contact details. Let people know if they should bring food and drinks.

Decide the best way to invite your neighbours. Knocking on the door and handing them an invitation is a nice personal touch, however, you could pop it in the letterbox or come back later if they are not home. There is a name-tag file in the free e-kits or just get people to write their own name-tags using sticky labels.

Perhaps those who can’t make it in person can attend via video link.

Contact your local council or shire

Many local councils and shires are supportive of initiatives to strengthen their community. Councils across Australia are also signing on as Very Neighbourly Organisations to show that they support the Neighbour Day ethos. In support of Neighbour Day and community involvement, some councils offer assistance through free loans of barbecues, portable coffee machines, cricket sets and more.

If you are planning a street party or an event in a local park, it is also important to contact your council or shire to see if you need permission or a permit to host your event.

National Parks and other state or territory parks

Many people choose to celebrate Neighbour Day in one of our many awesome national parks or state recreation areas and invite people to bring themselves and some food and drink to meet up and share.  It’s a great idea to get outdoors with your community!

Parks and other land managers have asked that if you decide to arrange a neighbourly get together on public lands, that you check with them in advance to ensure there are no clashes. They often book out sites for other special events, and it is important to be neighbourly and not take over a site with your unexpected(!) neighbourly crowd.  You may find that depending on the size of the activity that a permit is required, so be sure to check beforehand. Just Google your local national park service, state recreation area or public land manager and it should be easy to find the contacts.

Promote your event

Check out our promo flyer.

Event hosts tell us that the top 3 ways to promote Neighbour Day events are:

  1. face-to-face invitation,
  2. a friendly invitation left in their neighbour’s letterbox/under their front door, and
  3. on Facebook.

If you are organising a larger event and want to open it to the general public, ask local shops and cafes to put up the Neighbour Day poster with your event details. Let your local or regional newspaper know your plans – they might write a story or take a photograph. Tune into your local radio station for tips and talkback on great neighbourly activities near you.

Encourage work colleagues, family and friends to have their own event. We’d love you to share your stories about great neighbours and neighbourhoods to encourage others to get involved.

Check out our 2021 theme page Every Day is Neighbour Day and resources you can use on social media including graphics and selfie sign.

Remember to tag us on social media (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter) and use the hashtags #EveryDayIsNeighbourDay #NeighbourDay2021 #CreativeConnections

Say g’day and get to know your neighbours

Make sure you have a few people to make introductions and give out name-tags. Shy people will be grateful! Some hosts provide a few crafty materials and have neighbours make their own name-tag. It provides something practical and fun for guests to do on arrival and helps break any nervous tension.

Share what you know about Neighbour Day: how it was started, some of the places around the world involved, and some good neighbourly stories.

Check out our conversation tips.

Encourage people to leave their mobile number with older residents so they have someone to nearby contact in an emergency. Neighbour Day connection or calling cards are an easy way to do this.

Stay Safe

*To keep everyone safe, keep abreast of the current public health advice relating to the world pandemic and local restrictions.

Any risks associated with the conduct of Neighbour Day events are the responsibility of the host individuals and organisations and their neighbourhoods and communities. The wellbeing of participants should be considered in event planning.

Consideration should be given to keeping everyone attending an event safe, particularly children.

Some tips are: stick to an invitation-only event; work with the local councils or relevant authorities in respect to road blocking permissions; ensure alcohol is consumed in moderation; observe fire bans; and be careful near lakes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Also, ask your guests to keep an eye out for others whilst at the event, safety is everyone’s responsibility.

And, a good neighbour always ensures that their friends get home safely.