Relationships Australia is home of the year round community campaign Neighbour Day. For 2019, the theme for Neighbour Day was ‘loneliness – what neighbours can do to create connections’. We challenged Australians to do whatever they could to create connections – and create connections they did! More than 290,000 people participated in more than 7,000 events across Australia. To try to find out more about the impacts of Neighbour Day Relationships Australia commissioned two research projects.
The first was a small qualitative study conducted by Dr Katrina Long and Dr Michelle Lim from the Department of Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory at Swinburne University of Technology focusing on Neighbour Day 2018. They found that attending a Neighbour Day event often leads to people joining existing community groups, or organising their own groups and events. This research, reveals that the most immediate effect of participating in Neighbour Day is that it creates new relationships, renews past relationships, and deepens existing relationships. What is clear is that Neighbour Day helps create ongoing and enduring connections between people and their communities.
The second was a quantitative research study with Dr Tegan Cruwys and Ms Polly Fong of the Australian National University who undertook an external evaluation of the Neighbour Day 2019 campaign. Initial findings from Neighbour Day 2019 indicate that after people hosted an event or took some neighbourly action, they experienced:
- an increased sense of identification with their neighbourhood;
- an increased sense of belonging; and
- perceived their neighbourhood environment more positively.
The full report will be published in the coming weeks, with further research in train.
Encouraging social connection is the essence of Neighbour Day every day. During our 2020 campaign, Neighbour Day will be actively encouraging Australians to realise the social, emotional and mental benefits of connecting with others and joining and taking part in social groups – and creating connections. To get involved visit http://neighbourday.org/