4Relationships Australia’s update on Neighbours Every Day activities in response to COVID19 [October 2022]

During the COVID pandemic, the need for each of us to have strong social support networks has never been more apparent.

So too, has been the strength and resilience we draw from others when we “belong”.

Neighbours Every Day is the next evolution of the popular Neighbour Day campaign, which has operated in Australia for twenty years, promoting the benefits of well-connected and resilient communities.

For many people, Neighbour Day has been viewed as a single day, rather than a call-to-action day for a year-round social connection campaign. The reframing of our campaign to “Neighbours Every Day” recognises the significant positive impacts that can flow from making sustainable, lasting connections, every day of the year.

Relationships Australia acknowledges that right across the country, changing conditions, and directives from government, have necessitated ongoing shifts in the way we interact.

We acknowledge the sacrifices made by the incredible people who have worked and continue to work in ‘frontline and essential services’ across the country, to keep us all safe. In addition, to everyone else juggling life and the impacts of the pandemic during this uncertain time, be it changed working conditions (or no work), school, family, your relationships, we acknowledge your hardship.

Whether a Neighbours Every Day event [or action] at any time throughout the year, or our annual day of action – Neighbour Day 2024 on Sunday 31 March 2024, we are providing everyone in Australia with an opportunity to recognise the strength we draw from our communities, and to continue to build connections within neighbourhoods and wider communities to create and share belonging.

Whatever those celebrations and opportunities look like, we know that it is as important now as ever that we all take steps to make sustainable and safe connections with those around us. Relationships Australia firmly believes in the power of community to support its most vulnerable, to address loneliness, and to work together to ensure respectful and safe relationships beyond the pandemic – and to create and share belonging.

As the country continues to manage and adapt to mask wearing (where required), periods of isolation, physical distancing measures and a re-think of how we operate our day-to-day lives, we want to remind everyone of the importance of social connections and support. This ongoing public health challenge provides good reasons (even opportunities) to expand our connections and understanding of community and ‘neighbours’ to create and share belonging.

We stress the importance of following government requirements and guidelines that are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 (and other public health issues as they arise) and recommend that people make themselves aware of the public health authorities’ advice. Visit https://www.health.gov.au/ to stay up to date and informed, so that you can keep yourselves and your neighbourhood healthy. You can also find out more at the COVID- 19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker.

Consulting the World Health Organisation’s guidelines and the advice of Australia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and each respective state and territory’s CMOs will help people make informed decisions.

The impacts of COVID-19 on our lives and livelihoods and on people’s relationships will be felt for years to come.

Relationships Australia continues to provide services and supports across Australia and we encourage anyone who needs support or assistance to make use of services where necessary. You can find links to our services here.

Our official annual day of action – Neighbour Day, is a catalyst to encourage people across all communities to build and strengthen their social connections throughout the year.

While getting together physically may not be safe in some places around Australia at certain times, we encourage everyone to be creative and find other ways to connect and engage with their neighbours and communities on a regular basis.

Relationships Australia has published a range of opportunities to connect and stay connected.  The Neighbours Every Day website provides ideas and tips and free resources to help support you to connect and create and share belonging, every day of the year.

We encourage building positive and sustainable social connections and respectful relationships, in whatever way best suits individuals and their communities.

Together we create and share belonging.