It’s been a heartbreaking summer for Australians all over the nation, whether you were threatened by the fires first-hand, were one of our heroic volunteers who worked tirelessly to fight them, or you watched from afar while our country faced an unprecedented catastrophe. At this frightening and overwhelming time though, there is one common thread that’s kept people together… community.
Aussie mateship and the kindness of neighbours is helping us get through the toughest of times. In this report by the ABC, Rural Fire Service (RFS) Southern Highlands group captain Andrew Beville says that there is only one thing that keeps him going, “The appreciation of community. That’s it.”
The simple acts of kindness we are seeing serve as a reminder of our purpose at Nextdoor, which is to cultivate a kinder world where everyone has a neighbourhood that they can rely on. It’s the premise that the platform was built on – to be the neighbourhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful news and information, not just in good times but also when times are tough, like now.
Hazelbrook RFS and Crimestoppers NSW were two of the first emergency services to take advantage of our free accounts for public agencies, sharing important safety updates with local communities throughout NSW.
Neighbours across the platform are raising their hands to support one another in the most wonderful and unique ways. From Canberra to Condoblin in NSW and from Kangaroo Valley in South Australia to the Kiewa Valley in Victoria, we are seeing members offering one another lifts to the shops and local drop off points, communities starting fundraisers and donation drives, knitting groups being formed to make pouches for our marsupials, and neighbours are even caring for each other’s animals. Here are some random acts of kindness from across Australia:
Melanie Bienemann, Ashmore, Queensland – Call Out For Bat Wraps And Kangaroo Pouches
Melanie uses Nextdoor to get to know neighhours but, since the fires broke out, her concern has turned to the joeys and she had used Nextdoor as a vehicle to help.
Her post got a huge response. When we asked Melanie why she uses Nextdoor to talk to neighbours she told us that, “We are quite new to the neighbourhood and Nextdoor is helping us to get to know people locally through issues we care about.
It’s nice to connect with people in the area that I would never connect with otherwise and animals are our neighbours too. Really, it has helped me connect and lend a hand locally and I like keeping an eye out for the lost dogs and cats in the area in case I can help.”
Sue Connell – Carlingford, NSW – Collecting Linen For Injured Animals
Sue Connell had an overwhelming response to her post calling for neighbours to assist her to collect linens for the RSPCA – We’ve seen similar Nextdoor posts all over Australia, but Sue tells us that “After ringing the local RSPCA I found that they were in desperate need of blankets and linen for our wildlife that had been hurt in the fires. I didn’t have a lot. So I thought I’ll voice my request on Nextdoor. People said that they found it hard to get to the places that needed them and how wonderful of me to do it for them. Still today they are dropping stuff off at my place!” ”
Sue suggested that neighbours drop the goods at her house and says that,
“The outcome was amazing! The generosity and the words of appreciation for me doing this was unbelievable”
Daniel from Rivett, ACT – Prepare To Evacuate
Daniel has been reminding people regularly about the fire risks warning that its, “Time to clean gutters, collect your important documents together, and work out what you will do if there is a fire (leave early, or stay). If you are able to help others, maybe check on your neighbours to see if they are prepared.” He also told Nextdoor that, “I used Nextdoor because it could get the message out to people in my local area, including to people I didn’t really know too well yet and had only ever waved to… It would be good if fire brigades and other community groups had a presence on Nextdoor, as they could target their important information to their local community.”
Alex Roy – Calwell, ACT – Horse In Suburbia? Neighbours Say Yes!
Alex Roy’s horse was in danger as the fire front moved near her farm. She needed to find a temporary home for her horse, and found refuge in a nearby neighbourhood. Alex used Nextdoor to warn locals that they’d have an unusual temporary guest. “Due to fire threats at our family farm, we have relocated one of our small ponies to our backyard in Richardson. Just a quick message so you don’t think you are going crazy if you hear a horse neigh over the next few days.” Alex told Nextdoor that, “Due to local fire threats at our family farm, we relocated one of the five horses to our residential property, to make things easier should we need to evacuate the other…
Nextdoor allowed me to inform our neighbours, as the sound of a pony isn’t normally something you come across in suburbia. Our neighbours were great about it, even offering their lawns to feed him – or get out of mowing!”