Community Member Stories Neighbour Spotlight

Connecting Through Groups

Written by Siobhan Moylan

Nextdoor Groups are a great way to connect and meet others who have shared interests and throughout Covid-19, we have witnessed an explosion in people making groups, making friends and getting creative. 

We have around 1800 groups on Nextdoor in Australia now, ranging from sport groups, ethnic groups, cooking and gardening groups, to LQBTQIA+ groups and more. I am part of a local Volleyball Group in my area which in the lead up to Summer is ideal. 

Every day when I look at my neighbourhood, I see more groups forming, from parent groups, book club groups faith groups and more. It gives me hope that even in this time when we have been physically apart, we can still connect with our neighbours and meet new ones.

Some groups are a little more obscure and we love digging them up and finding out the inspiration behind them. 

The Teddy Power Group in Perth caught my eye recently.  Nita Webster from Joondalup in Perth joined the Teddy Bear group in her area at the start of Covid-19 in March – back when a global trend of putting teddy bears in your window, yard or fence took off around the world – Nextdoor was a hive of bear activity at the time too, and still is!

Originally a Liverpudlian, Nita now calls Australia home – she has been a part of her Nextdoor Joondalup community for about a year now and told us that the platform is  “just lovely” in her area, and that,  

I like Nextdoor because it helps to eliminate the isolation between people; it brings people together in a friendly social community where we can all help each other. It is especially helpful during these health crises.

Here’s her friend.. 

Nita bought her bear at a Good Samaritan shop as it made her feel nostalgic – “I didn’t buy it for my grandkids I had to buy it for me!”

We asked Nita what inspired her bear character and she told us… When I read about people putting teddy bears in the window during COVID, to cheer up the children, I thought I would join in as I have a splendid teddy bear living with me. I put her in the window for a few days, then she got bored. She started to do things like putting on a face mask and disposable gloves, to make the children laugh.  Next, she asked me for some pots and pans to do some cooking, and I put a bandana around her head. I think she made some pizzas!

She hosted a High Tea for her friends; well she is from Hamleys darling (a famous toy shop in London). She is into self-care and practices things such as yoga, weight lifting and meditation. She enjoys reading the classics such as Pride & Prejudice. She practises origami and wrote love letters to her fiancé Paddington who she missed so very much. 

Eventually, she had to leave the window to go and marry Paddington. I sometimes receive emails from them telling me how happy they are. She is now alongside him, feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

What do you love about Joondalup?  I enjoy the amenities such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, and the women’s health workers who organise walking groups that I’m involved in. I like being able to attend a meditation group at the library. There is a large shopping centre, next to public transport, with free CAT buses, a library, churches of different denominations and the beautiful Neil Hawkins park beside the lake. There is also a large cinema complex.

What are your favourite local businesses? My favourite restaurant at the moment is Lion Thai on Davidson Terrace, and Scents of Siam on Grand Boulevard. Both serve delicious Thai meals. I am also a fan of Paper Avenue, the modern coffee shop on Davidson Terrace, along with the Dome over the road.

Thank you so much Nita and we hope to keep hearing about the adventurous bears! 

For tips and track on how to create your own group, visit us here. 

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