There’s still another month of summer to enjoy. And with school holidays over, now is the time to get to know the neighbours.
Federal PM Andrew Leigh, a former professor of economics reveals some disturbing statistics in his 2010 book Disconnected.
With the widespread use of social media to connect with people from across the globe, we neglect those who are the geographically closest to us. In the mid-1980s, the average Australian knew 7.1 people in their local area they could ask for small favours. In the mid-2000s, that number had dropped to 5.7 people.
He suggests that people living in strata communities have an advantage over those living in houses because you’re more likely to bump into your neighbours in the common areas around your home.
Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay says being a good neighbour doesn’t necessarily mean having a new best friend.
“Neighbours don’t have to be best friends – but the role of neighbour is a distinct and precious one,” he says. “Knowing the people around us increases our sense of emotional security and physical safety, and our local neighbourhood networks help to define and sustain us – in both the good times and the more challenging moments of our lives.”
And we agree. We share our top reasons for getting to know the neighbours.
Community – Knowing your neighbours even only by their first name basis means a friendly face and a sense of connection with your community.
Security – Knowing who does and doesn’t belong in the area helps reduce the risk of opportunistic crime. Having a neighbour keep an eye on your place while you’re away on holidays also adds to your peace of mind.
Safety – There are times an extra set of helping hands is useful. Holding a step ladder, assistance with lugging the groceries or, in the case of a medical emergency, someone to call for help or to offer first aid.
Friendship – As the TV theme song goes, ‘good neighbours can become good friends’. And as neighbours, you already have so much in common, so why not take the next step and find out if you connect in other ways.
Networking – You never know who else your neighbours know, they can be a great source of information such as trusted tradies or the best local bargains.
Support – Being part of a strata community means being involved. Getting to know the neighbours can means getting to know your committee members too – and perhaps volunteering your time to help make it an even better place to live.
Neighbours Day is March 26. You can find more community building tips by visiting the web site: http://www.neighbourday.org/