The art of being a good neighbour
Everybody needs good neighbours. Here’s why being one is good for your health.
It was Robert Frost who wrote the famous line, “Good fences make good neighbours”, but he clearly hadn’t just lived through a pandemic that upended everyday life across the globe. Among the many lessons learned from the hardships of 2020, the importance of neighbours was one of the most powerful.
As onerous as they were, Victoria’s rolling lockdowns proved an antidote to the busyness of modern life. They helped reinvigorate the notion of community, as neighbours checked in on each other, ran errands for those unable to leave the house, stuck teddy bears in their windows to entertain passing children and baked endless lasagnes.
The good will generated is certain to add extra meaning to this year’s Neighbour Day, on 28 March.
Held each year on the last Sunday in March, the initiative run by not-for-profit Relationships Australia is a celebration of community, designed to encourage people to connect with others in their neighbourhood.
“The original Neighbour Day in 2003 was actually a response to a tragic story,” says Relationships Australia national executive officer Nick Tebbey. “The remains of an elderly woman were found inside her home two years after she had died. An activist named Andrew Heslop was shocked by how easily she had been forgotten by her neighbours and family and friends. “That provided the seed for an event designed to fight loneliness and embrace the positive outcomes of being part of your community.”