Community Good Neighbour Spotlight Member Stories

Member Spotlight – Balgowlah Heights, NSW

Written by Siobhan Moylan

Whether it’s finding a babysitter, getting a recommendation for a local tradie, sharing neighbourhood safety information, or organising a community get-together, Australians are coming together on Nextdoor, the neighbourhood hub. 

In just over a year of being in Australia, 94% of Australian households are in an active Nextdoor neighbourhood, with more than 80% of Sydney and Melbourne neighbourhoods already using Nextdoor. We love hearing all of the heartwarming stories of how our members are building stronger communities, and often the simplest acts make the biggest difference.

Balgowlah Heights member Gemma Richardson recently spoke to us about how Nextdoor helped to introduce her and her family to their new neighbourhood and took out some of the stress of moving somewhere new. 

How did you hear about us and what made you join your Nextdoor community?  

I’d never heard of Nextdoor until we moved to Balgowlah Heights. The day that we moved in, I received an invite from a neighbour in the mail asking us to join, so I did! I was unsure of what it was but keen to join and give it a go as we were new to the northern beaches and I was clueless of the facilities and what was what in the area.

You’re a busy working mum of two kids, why do you feel it is important to carve time out to give back to your community? 

Despite being fairly new to the beaches and  having only lived here for just over a year, we have really immersed ourselves in the local community and feel really at home, more so than we have anywhere else.  We’ve made friends with neighbours, sent our daughter to a local community preschool and made efforts to support local business with our patronage. The community has been so welcoming to us and so we want to support it in any way that we can.

What has been the hardest part about physical restrictions during Covid-19 

The hardest part of the Covid lockdown was the physical separation from family and friends, particularly my parents.  Although we took advantage of Zoom and the like, they just can’t substitute for the enjoyment and happiness experienced from gatherings with family and friends.

What do you use Nextdoor for? 

We mainly use the platform for local recommendations, whether it be searching for a tradesman, restaurants, advice on local schools, anything really.  If I’m looking for something I’ll always reach out to the local community via Nextdoor rather than searching on Google. There are also posts advising on crime and missing pets. A family lost their beloved cat not long ago, and through the community of Nextdoor he was found safe and sound!

What is your favourite neighbourhood memory from your childhood? 

I was lucky enough to live near a beautiful park and a bike track growing up. I remember taking our bikes there with other kids on our street and spending hours and hours there just having lots of fun. That’s why we moved to the northern beaches as the beautiful beaches and parks make it such a wonderful place to bring up children.

What are your favorite neighbourhood spots and why? 

I must say I love Clontarf Beach, it’s great for kids, has a fabulous playground, yummy kiosk and a new restaurant has opened recently. That said. It gets very busy on the weekends so we prefer it on a weekday.

Castlerock Beach is just lovely, especially when the ice cream man comes to the shore on a boat, the kids love it.  North Harbour Reserve has a big fenced playground for kids, dog park, cafe across road and it’s easy to park. Everything you need really. The Skiff Club Manly is a beautiful spot. It’s got a great big deck overlooking the water with great food and drinks. And of course InSitu Manly for its great cocktails and live music!

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