Neighbour Day, Sun 27th March 2011

“The community you want starts at your front door.”

Not many people are aware that Sunday, March 27th is National Neighbour Day in Australia; a day which much needed and worth spreading the word about.

I’ve always been motivated by people who are blessed with the determination to make a difference. Andrew Heslop is one of these incredible individuals, and back in 2003, it was his belief in the collective ability of all the people in a community to make a change, which is the reason we celebrate Neighbour Day every year on the last Sunday in March.

Hop in the time machine and let’s travel way back to March 17th, 2003. A week earlier the most tragic thing had happened – the remains of 75-year-old Elsie Brown were discovered in her Melbourne home a shocking 2 years after her death. Not a friend, a relative or a neighbour cared enough to check on her during those two years.

Andrew Heslop wrote a letter to the editor of The Age, but unlike many others, he didn’t write to just condemn the society that allows something like this to happen. His letter was titled “Elsie Brown’s lonely death is a wake-up call for us all”, and in it he proposed what we know today as the “Neighbour Day”:

“I propose we designate Sunday March 30 “National Check On Your Neighbour Day”. Make the effort to get to know the people next door, in the house behind and across the street. If you live in the country, get in the car and check on your single neighbour on the next farm. Introduce yourself and make sure they’re OK – especially if they are elderly. Swap phone numbers, and follow up by dropping by from time to time, and call the police if you’re concerned.”

Back to 2011, we can see that now Neighbour Day is supported by the Australian Government and is set to spread outside our country, to the US and Europe. I guess many developed countries are feeling the need to break the isolation numerous men and women are living in.

So here are a few ideas for a great Neighbour Day celebration, inspired by its official site

  • First, if you are invited by the people in your community – make an effort and show up. After all, this is the easiest way to get to know your neighbours, who took the initiative and arranged this event.
  • When arranging a gathering of your own, it’s your decision whether you want it big or small, whether you feel like inviting the whole block for a barbecue or just a few closest neighbours for a cup of tea. If you go for a big crowd, it would make sense to pick an outside location, such as you front lawn, or a nearby park. This will give the whole party an open feeling and people won’t be afraid to join.
  • When planning a big event, you will need some help. What can be more bonding than involving your neighbours in the preparations? You can ask them to help with the food, invitations and decorations for the party.
  • Inviting just a few people can be done in person, but inviting the whole block is probably better done through written invitations with the time, location and contact details, put in everyone’s mailboxes.
  • Last but not least – a warm welcome will make every guest feel great.

“Hello, neighbour! Glad you could make it!”

Article courtesy of

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