Neighbour Day is just around the corner, which has me thinking about my most recent trip to Australia when I sat down with neighbours from across NSW and Victoria to hear how Nextdoor plays a part in bringing communities together.
Gathering around a table, I learned firsthand how Nextdoor has helped with issues — such as social isolation, homelessness and declining mental health – issues that plague so many neighbourhoods in Australia and around the world. In every circumstance, our neighbours at the table left with more than they came with; they left with neighbours to rely on.
I’ve watched as hands reach across tables to share problems, ideas, and support. Taking part in neighbourhood conversations reinforces what I know to be true: what we have in common is greater than what separates us.
One member I met in Victoria, Delene, called on neighbours to join her for breakfast during a difficult time in her life, and now the weekly club has led to countless friendships, support systems, and one marriage proposal. For some, it is simply a reason to leave the house. What we’re doing at Nextdoor continues to grow and the why only strengthens.
This year, Social Connection is the theme for Neighbour Day and so Australians are being urged to contemplate the importance of belonging and encouraged to think about how they can put their energy into creating positive and meaningful connections with people outside of their regular groups. The natural synergy between Nextdoor and Neighbour Day (a Relationships Australia initiative) is striking, which is why this year we are proud to join their list of ‘Very Neighbourly Organisations’.
What we know is that cultivating more casual, everyday relationships, with people like your neighbours, local barista, or you hairdresser, often mean something bigger. Sociologist Mark Granovetter calls these relationships “weak ties,” though their effects are anything but weak. These connections can help us feel less lonely and more empathetic, they are trusted sources for services, recommendations, and even jobs.
For the second year in a row, we’re asking you to Celebrate Your Neighbour this Neighbour Day, by helping us recognise one of your neighbours who goes above and beyond in your community. There is no act of kindness too small. Share here what this neighbour means to your neighbourhood.
Enter them to win a $100 gift card, with the Grand Prize winner receiving a $500 gift card to a local business. Winners will be featured on Nextdoor’s blog. Read about last year’s winners here.
At Nextdoor, we’re all about the neighbourhood and this year, I’m looking forward to getting to know more about yours.