Neighbour Day for Councils
Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood.
Whether through a cuppa, a picnic in the park, or a message of support; Neighbour Day is the perfect opportunity to say thanks for being a great neighbour and for being there when I needed you most.
Neighbour Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in March every year with the aim of fostering strong personal connections that last the whole year round.
The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
Councils and Shires are great supporters of Neighbour Day and are integral to the success of the movement. They have the ability to inform and engage large numbers of community members in neighbourly pursuits by using the Neighbour Day celebration as a vehicle to achieve their community development goals.
Clear themes emerged from the Neighbour Day 2016 survey feedback from event registrants about the benefits of promoting and/or hosting Neighbour Day. Respondents identified benefits such as social participation and connection; building resilience and social capital; mental health and wellbeing; supporting vulnerable people; community development and education; celebrating and recognising; community safety; embracing diversity; and utilising the values of Neighbour Day in their communities.
Councils in every state and territory are leveraging their association with Neighbour Day to promote social connection in their communities and to catalyse action. Many weave Neighbour Day promotion and engagement into their calendars and also take a proactive role by organising larger Neighbour Day events in the lead up to the day.
This website contains resources and guidance to catalyse connections in your neighbourhood. If you have other good ideas, or would like to feed into our understanding of community connection, please provide us with that feedback, and your story. It is the stories about real human connection at the local neighbourhood level that inspire all of us to rise above our reserve and knock on the door of the person down the road whose burden may be lightened, or even life transformed by that small kindness.
Easy Neighbour Day Ideas for Councils
- Print Neighbour Day posters and display them in council buildings; libraries; community halls; child and family health, youth and senior citizens centres and other council premises.
- Talk about Neighbour Day in council publications, e-newsletters, local newspapers, the Mayor’s column and social media. Highlight Neighbour Day activities at community meetings, networks or groups focused on developing stronger communities and connected neighbourhoods. Perhaps the Mayor could be the local Neighbour Day Ambassador!
- Access Neighbour Day council resources and the FREE e-kit at neighbourday.org. Subscribe to the ‘Verandah by Neighbour Day’ Enews and share with your community for great neighbourly information and ideas.
- Distribute Neighbour Day calling cards to all council services and libraries for residents to collect and use.
- Support and inspire residents to host their own Neighbour Day events with ideas, council approvals, equipment or other encouragement.
- Align existing council events with Neighbour Day, including events that are held before or on Neighbour Day, the last Sunday in March.
- Register your event on the Neighbour Day web site at neighbourday.org
The e-kit includes event ideas, Neighbour Day logo and posters (including a version with space for your logo or local sponsor logos), invitations, Certificate of Recognition template, e-cards, promotional flyers, calling cards, launch, selfie and event signs. Also included are social media drafts, and a media template.
What some councils have done….
- A small council in QLD organised a community information stall in a shopping centre and invited community, health, fire and rescue and other support services to talk about what they offer. Neighbour Day resources were used to promote the event.
- A council in Perth offered their BBQs and cricket sets to use for free community events in local parks; whilst City of Albany, WA put together a great Neighbour Day event guide and provided wheelie bin cricket wicket stickers for neighbourly cricket games.
- Greater Shepparton City Council, VIC offered ten free BBQ kits each to the value of $100 for people willing to host a neighbourhood BBQ. The packs included a voucher for meat and bread at the local shops and paper plates, serviettes and BBQ utensils as well as helpful event tips.
- City of Willoughby also offered $100 Harris Farm vouchers to help get the party started, and also hosted a morning tea book swap.
- Brimbank City Council, VIC offered grants of $250 to residents to encourage connection and community participation at a local level with great success. They also worked with Gallery Sunshine Everywhere to engage with children at a preschool, primary school and high school to produce art work that described their relationship with their neighbourhoods.
- Launceston City Council, TAS links Neighbour Day to its Meet the Neighbours program with a terrific Street Party Guide, and some helpful incentives.
- Very Neighbourly Organisation Lane Cove Council ‘Love Where You Live’ campaign links Neighbour Day with its Meet the Neighbours program and offers useful neighbourly information and resources.
- Shellharbour City Council hosts annual Good Neighbour Awards and aligned itself with Neighbour Day for 2016 as a Very Neighbourly Organisation.
- The Western Advocate newspaper in regional NSW put the call out for great neighbourly stories with awards supported by Bathurst Regional Council and an event hosted by Relationships Australia NSW. They also supported a Neighbour Day colouring in competition with over 240 entries.
- Many councils host good neighbour awards, for example Melville Council in WA hosted ‘Friendly Neighbour Awards’.
- The Mayor of the City of Unley in SA dropped off ‘Good Neighbour’ jars and shared on You Tube.
- The City of Darwin opened its three swimming pools free to the public to celebrate Neighbour Day.
- A Council in Victoria encouraged residents to enter the Neighbour Day ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition in an effort to be the council with the most entries.
- A Council in Tasmania supported local NGOs to host a public concert and picnic for Neighbour Day.
- Very Neighbourly Organisation Befriend Inc. partnered up with the City of Vincent and Relationships Australia WA for a very sweet Neighbour Day Street Party in 2016! See video.
- One council library organised a poetry competition for children focusing on healthy neighbourhoods and where children feel safe, whilst another hosted a colouring in competition using the colouring resource in the e-Kit with prizes sponsored by local businesses.
- Mayors across the country ‘attended’ the Neighbour Day virtual launch snapping a pic with the Neighbour Day sign – ‘The community you want starts at your front door ™’ #neighbourday
- More than 20,000 people follow Neighbour Day on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Councils and other community organisations can use social media to cross-promote neighbourly events and information.
What some community and business groups have done
- Befriend Inc. linked with All We Need is Right Here and the Hills Social Group to celebrate Neighbour Day with a family-friendly picnic in Kalamunda emphasising the important role good neighbours play in growing healthy, connected communities.
- Rio Tinto (WA) hosted a morning tea at their corporate offices in Perth launching 3 months of neighbourliness for their Perth, Regional Pilbara, FIFO staff and beyond!
- A community organisation in Ryde NSW organised Neighbour Day breakfasts in offices and business parks on the Friday before Neighbour Day to engage their local neighbours.
- Conservation Volunteers Australia promoted March as ‘Neighbour Month’ and used the theme for all conservation projects held in March.
- A girls’ school in Melbourne celebrated on the Wednesday before Neighbour Day at lunchtime with a special guest talking about the importance of being neighbourly.
- Another school in the Northern Territory co-ordinated a cricket game on the school grounds for the neighbours that live in the same street as the school.
- In Adelaide, a group of organisations came together and held a Street Party to celebrate Neighbour Day with young people, including a photo both and games truck. See video.
- A Neighbourhood Bake-Off was organised by a group of seniors in Brisbane.
- The CWA of Victoria members hosted morning teas with their neighbours.
- Local newspapers, real estate agents and supermarkets provided prizes for a variety of Neighbour Day local competitions.
What people are saying about the benefits of getting involved…
“This is the first time we have hosted a Neighbour Day party and we were overwhelmed by how many people came. This is the beginning of an annual event in our neighbourhood that will strengthen our community to look out for each other and thrive.”
“I really believe it was a momentous turning point in how my community relates to one another and thinks about ownership and neighbourly responsibility.”
“Met some new neighbours and some that have been around for a long time that had never met! Have since popped in for a cuppa to follow up on one lady who lives alone and had never previously come to things in the street. Catching up with another lady (who is deaf) next week to teach her how to use facebook so she can join our street group and stay up to date.”
“We held a working bee followed by afternoon tea. We improved the amenity of the street and had the opportunity to discuss a new bridge design with residents all together. We have had a few deaths in the street, so it was an opportunity for members to talk about this and make sure everyone was OK.”
“Getting to know our neighbours, not just immediate ones. Having a great deal of fun. Six families shared the cost of purchasing a log splitter, which is shared among us. The splitter was used for a neighbour in her late 70s to split enough wood for her winter use.’
“Provides a date and resources to use to promote the community coming together – particularly new residents.”
“It has the ability to take a local area and build a community.”
“A fantastic conversation starter to approach local people you don’t know or have lost touch with.”
“Connections are made and friendships grow as a result plus, the young connect with the more elderly and everyone develops a greater sense of community belonging”.
“I had always wanted to have a great connected neighbourhood but didn’t really know where to start. Neighbour Day gave me ideas, tools and an excuse to get on with it. Most people say they have been meaning to get to know their neighbours, but many don’t get around to it. Neighbour Day gives a time frame and a sense of urgency.”
“Highlights the importance of looking out for your neighbour. Works to alleviate social isolation.”