This past Neighbour Day, Nextdoor asked neighbours across Australia to honour those who go above and beyond to better their communities. In this Neighbour Day Award Spotlight, meet Phillip Pitt from Bentleigh East, Victoria.
Moving into a new town can sometimes be a bit intimidating, yet when Phillip Pitt and his family settled into Bentleigh East over six years ago, they were welcomed with open arms and warm smiles.
Shortly after moving to Bentleigh East, Phil became involved with a local community-owned club called SOCial (South Oakleigh Club), which has become a place where neighbours can meet other neighbours, and feel a sense of community and belonging. “I’ve never met so many neighbours and friends in my entire life. I don’t feel like I’m neighbour of the year, I feel like I’m part of the neighbourhood of the year. This is where we congregate, this is where we have gotten to know each other, this is where we support each other,” said Phil.
Phil may not feel like he’s neighbour of the year, but he is certainly worthy of the title as he is always helping his neighbours. Recently, Phil organised a fundraiser for one of his neighbours, a mother of young children who lost her husband to cancer. After rallying members of SOCial, the community raffled off vouchers and other prizes donated by local businesses and was able to raise over $5,000 for the family. And Phil didn’t stop there! He later put together another fundraiser for Motor Neuron Disease (MND), which raised over $4,000.
Phil also volunteers his time spreading cheer throughout his community. Phil has performed as Elvis, Neil Diamond, and Billy Idol at local nursing homes, and even dressed up as Santa for the annual local Christmas party. When asked about attendance at his performances, Phil said, “I just know that my community will show up and be there. I know it will sell out every time.” Phil also organises street parties, and continues lifting up his community by regularly inviting the whole neighbourhood to his house for lunch.
As Phil says, “Be aware of what venues or community centres are around you. Drop into your local coffee shop or cafe – it’s a matter of getting out there. Try to connect in any way you can. You can always find people who are looking for a friend.”