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How Australians Are Building Stronger Communities On Nextdoor

Written by Sarah Friar

I’ve just come back from my trip visiting neighbours across Australia, and it’s amazing to witness the meaningful ways neighbours have used Nextdoor in the past year. There are so many members working to build stronger and kinder communities through Nextdoor, and I had the opportunity to meet nearly 200 of those members last week.  

We had six incredible member meetups in many different areas across Sydney and Melbourne. On the first leg of our trip in Sydney, we met with leads and members from Mona Vale, Turramurra, Bilgola, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, plus a Wollongong area superhood, Cordeaux Heights. I also had the pleasure of driving out to the Hills District in Sydney’s North West, to meet a group of members from Cherrybrook, another area where we have strong membership, especially with local businesses. We talked a lot about the importance of  neighbourhood Leads. One member, Dale, said he was starting to build a guidebook for Leads, which is amazing. I also met Hazem, a local business owner whose father opened a convenience store in Redfern which has become the ‘Greatest Convenience Store” in the world. We spoke to him about how Nextdoor supports local businesses by helping them to build and create a local reputation, with immediate followership in the neighborhood

 

Cordeax Heights Lead Roger Evans and Sarah Friar, Sydney
Nextdoor Members, Leads and Staff

On our final night in Sydney we had an amazing Town Hall at the Mosman Rowers Club, which so perfectly embodies what Nextdoor is all about: the power of community. Katrina, the President of the club, explained how the power of community saved the club after a terrible fire earlier this year. I then had the pleasure of doing a fireside chat about Nextdoor with 9News reporter Belinda Russell, and even got to hear from member Cheryl Bigeni who showed up to the event with friends she had made through Nextdoor. It brought me so much joy to hear her tell her story to everyone in the room. 

Katrina Doran, Sarah Friar, Belinda Russell, Jennie Sager
Belinda Russell in conversation with Sarah Friar

In Melbourne, we went to an inspiring breakfast club in Berwick hosted by Nextdoor member Delene. After going through a difficult time in her life, Delene found herself searching for community. She’s been holding these breakfasts at the same restaurant every Sunday for the past year and has had as many as 50 people join at one time. We met with 28 members, two couples who fell in love at the breakfast club attended, and one of those couples is now engaged to be married! It is truly a special community that they have built on Nextdoor. We also met a group of Leads in Alphington, one of our largest neighbourhoods in Australia, in large part due to the amazing Nextdoor Lead, Joel, who personally invited more than 750 of his neighbours. Lastly, we finished our member meetups with a second town hall, this time in Australia’s biggest Nextdoor neighbourhood, Rowville Victoria, with their newly-elected Mayor, Cr Nicole Seymour. We spoke about local businesses, promoting kindness on the platform, and how neighbours are combating loneliness by building a stronger sense of community. 

Sarah Friar and Nextdoor Member Delene Emanuel with her Inspiration Award
A Nextdoor Berwick Breakfast

We also had a number of meetings with partners such as the New South Wales Police, the world’s only eSafety Commissioner and her team, and the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness. As Nextdoor grows across Australia, it’s important for us to learn from and strengthen ties with the different organisations impacting communities across the country. Strong communities, which include public services, are most critical in times of disaster, and we saw this firsthand during my trip. There were, and still are, devastating fires in NSW, QLD and WA; the worst catastrophe to hit Australia in 40 years. Our hearts go out to those communities who are suffering from the fires, and in an effort to help our members during this devastating time, we quickly updated the platform to direct members in troubled areas to maps created by the Rural Fire Service and Emergency Services.You can learn more about it on our blog here. 

My week in Australia was truly inspiring and I learned so much. Thank you to our incredible members and partners around Australia for continuing with us on this journey to build stronger and safer communities and a kinder world. 

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