Council helping neighbours connect

Date published: 9 February 2022

Townsville City Council is encouraging neighbours to get to know each other by hosting a community event ahead of Neighbour Day.

Council is again supporting the initiative by giving out up to $200 to 20 neighbourhood-organised events to connect nearby residents.

Neighbour Day is an initiative run by Relationships Australia and encourages the community to get involved by getting to know their neighbours to help address issues like loneliness and safety.

Council Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the Neighbour Day concept was ideal for Townsville.

“With institutions like the university and Defence, we have a lot of people that come in and out of our community each year, and we may not know who our neighbours are,” Cr Greaney said.

“Holding a Neighbour Day event can help us all connect with our neighbours and create more inclusive and supportive communities.

“Making friends with those living closest to you also has the added benefit of creating safer, more connected and less lonely neighbourhoods.

Applications are open now for locals to apply for up to $200 from Council to go towards getting to know their neighbours better.

In previous years the money has gone towards items or services such as food for a neighbourhood barbecue, hampers for residents, or face painting and entertainment at nearby parks.

Wulguru resident Clair Ryder received a grant last year and used the money to host a meet and greet for neighbours and their dogs at a local dog park.

“The grant helped pay for packs of treats and toys for the dogs along with information cards about different community groups and local support services,” Miss Ryder said.

“The response was incredible, and we had people from all walks of life attend to share in the good spirit and get to know one another. Everyone had a great time, and I have since had many requests to repeat this highly successful get together.

“It helped open doors, and we are now a tighter community,” Miss Ryder said.

Relationships Australia National Executive Officer Nick Tebbey said 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of Neighbour Day across Australia.

“Loneliness and social isolation affect the health and wellbeing of people across Australia, and we are grateful for the crucial support of the Townsville City Council in helping to shift the tide.

“The Townsville community have been big supporters of Neighbour Day for many years, and in doing so, have played a vital role in connecting individuals and communities,” Mr Tebbey said.

To help celebrate 20 years of Neighbour Day, the Council encourages residents to nominate a local legend, with 10 Bunnings vouchers up for grabs.

Cr Greaney said a local legend could be anyone in your neighbourhood who you think deserves to be recognised.

“That can be your next-door neighbour who comes over to say g’day through to the person at the end of the street who always puts their bins out each collection day,” Cr Greaney said.

Nominations for Neighbour Day funding and recognising a local legend close on 28 February.

Neighbour Day is on Sunday, 27 March.

For more information visit Council’s Being Neighbourly page.

Resident Clair Ryder, pictured with Cr Ann-Maree Greaney and dogs.
Caption: Wulguru resident Clair Ryder, pictured with Cr Ann-Maree Greaney and some furry friends, organised a meet and greet for neighbours and their dogs at a local dog park for Neighbour Day in 2021.