The Café Conversations Project: How to make your café a community hub

Firstly…in a nutshell, what is Neighbour Day?

Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood.

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.

Every day can be neighbour day.

The annual theme for Neighbour Day 2020 is Social Connection

What is The Café Conversations Project?

Who

As public spaces, cafés serve as a hub for communities that offers a comfortable environment for meeting up with friends, family or acquaintances and opportunities to connect with new people too.

Clubs and community groups regularly meet up at cafés to create connections, swap stories, share ideas and good times e.g. playgroups, walkers, runners, cyclists, Neighbourhood Watchers, crafters, yoga, pilates, Progress Associations, cricket, footy, hockey, netball, basketball people … the list is endless!)

What & When

This project invites local cafés across Australia to host structured or unstructured Neighbour Day activities in March 2020 (and beyond!), to help create connections in their local community.

Why

Cafés can benefit in many ways from holding a Neighbour Day event.

Benefits include:

  • Positive publicity as a café that cares about the community
  • Attract new customers
  • Patrons who have a good experience are more likely to become a repeat customer and are also more likely to tell others about your welcoming and friendly café
  • Eligible to enter The Café Conversations Project competition to win Neighbour Day prizes

How

Cafés can hold a Speed Friending event, Connect discussions (you could even partner with a local community group to help make this event easy to organise) OR simply provide customers with our Conversation Cards to get people talking.

More information about these three options is available in the free information kit, provided when you register your café. It is FREE to register and participate (other than printing out a few free resources we’ve provided).

The downloadable kit includes conversation cards, table markers, participation poster and more. Cafés can run these activities at little to no cost and all details are at the cafés discretion. There is also a briefing included for your staff and (we hope!) everything else you need to make it super easy to get involved.

There is no limit to what businesses can do to celebrate Neighbour Day.  Our suggestions are by no means a restriction on what is possible, but simply inspiration and support to help cafés create a successful event (or events!)

But what if I am not a café yet want to get involved?

If your local café is doesn’t know about the project, tell them about it, and if they are keen, work with them to help them get involved.  They may be interested (but very busy) and will appreciate your support.

If you are a community group, you could link with your local cafe and organise an activity in partnership with them. They provide the venue and you organise the connections!

OR

Perhaps you can do your own pop-up cafe in your street or workplace! We’ve been told there are a few pop-up cafés planned, so you can register as a pop-up – even if you are not a business. It is all about the conversation and creating connections.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

Your café is also invited to enter The Café Conversations Project competition.

To enter the competition …

  • register your café  with The Cafe Conversations Project
  • hold a Neighbour Day Café Conversations Project activity/event
  • use the Neighbour Day Create Connections Selfie sign (in the free kit) somewhere in the photo(s)
  • make sure you have the consent of the people in the photo(!)
  • upload a picture(s) of the event(s) to social media, ensuring to tag the official Neighbour Day social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook)
  • include the Neighbour Day campaign hashtags #NeighbourDay #CaféConversations #CreateConnections (These hashtags are how we will find your entry for judging!)

Neighbour Day Café Conversations Project prize packs (x5) will include special limited edition Neighbour Day giveaways for your customers and staff.

Winning café will be chosen by a random selection generator app on Tuesday  31 March to give you plenty of time to post your photo entries on social media. If you are hosting activities before Neighbour Day we encourage you to start posting your entries on social media before Neighbour Day.

Register your café now to access the free resource kit to be a part of this national neighbourly initiative – The Cafe Conversations Project.