We know there are wonderful things happening out there between neighbours and now is the time to share these stories to inspire others. If you have a story and photo to share please submit your story and upload your photo here.
The NSW Police Next of Kin Register is a free service for older people who live alone to record their personal details at the local police station.
The register holds information about Next of Kin, doctors and dentists and any medical alerts. In an emergency, this information will help ambulance officers and police contact a relative or other named person.
The Crime Prevention Officer at your local Police Station can tell you about the Next of Kin Program.
If you have an elderly neighbour who lives alone you may be able to assist by printing out the Next of Kin Registration document for them.
Marrickville Council's Two Way Street initiative aims to reduce social isolation, create a safer environment, and encourage a stronger sense of community through getting to know your neighbours, or 'neighbourliness'.
Two Way Street provides the resources and ideas for residents to come together in a variety of ways such as:
The benefits include:
So what are you waiting for? Knock on your neighbour's door today!
There are many ways to get to know your neighbours and strengthen your local community.
Whether you have lived in your street for a short time or for years, when you see a neighbour in their yard or pass them in the street say ‘Hi' and introduce yourself.
While it is important to respect boundaries, saying hello and having a quick chat is a good way to get to know your neighbour. Some people might be shy or reserved and take a little extra time to get to know. The more time spent in front yards, the more opportunity to meet the neighbours. You may even make a new friend.
Gardens are a great way to bring communities together. Keeping front yards attractive makes a good impression on neighbours and visitors, and shows them you care about the street looking tidy.
Verge gardening (gardening on the nature strip) brings people out of their houses and into the street, increasing the chances of bumping into and chatting to neighbours. Contact Council's Sustainable Streets officer to find out more about verge gardening in your street.
How we use our shared space contributes to our quality of life. Keeping yards and footpaths clean and clear is one way to be neighbourly.
Consider pedestrian access on your footpath and how bins, cars and other objects can block access, particularly to pedestrians who are older, visually impaired or use wheelchairs. Footpaths with overhanging trees and debris (including leaves and flowers from trees) are difficult to negotiate. Council does street sweeping regularly – however, if you see debris on the footpath it may only take a few minutes to sweep it up and clear the path so that everyone can use it.
It's also important not to block the footpath with vehicles. Visiting trades people might need reminding to not block footpaths, while noise from music or power tools might also affect your neighbours. Let your neighbours know if you are having a party or beginning renovations.
Sharing tools, fresh herbs, camping goods, fairy lights (anything at all!) can save you and your neighbours money while also reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. Bartering services such as baby sitting, dog walking, guitar lessons, gardening and lawn mowing may also work in your street. Why buy a drill for one small job if you could actually borrow one from next door?
The collaborative consumption movement encourages sharing, lending, swapping, renting and bartering between community members for products and services. Council's website has some links to collaborative consumption sites.
Yes, it's important to respect privacy – but some neighbours who are elderly, have a disability or are a carer might appreciate a knock on the door, a contact number or an offer of assistance.
Offering to put the bins out, to change a light bulb, to pick up groceries or even simply to share cup of tea could make a big difference to the life of someone near by.
For example: during a heat wave it's a good idea to check on any older neighbours. Are the lights on at night, are the curtains drawn, is the garden tended, is the mail piling up? There are signs that your neighbour requires help – knock on their door straight away.
People who are socially isolated live shorter lives. People who help others live richer lives.
If your neighbour is a carer consider how you could make their life a little easier. Caring can be isolating. Asking whether there is any way you could help, or just having a regular cup of tea and a chat could be just what's needed.
For information for carers go to http://www.carersnsw.org.au.
Council offers a range of activities for people in the community.
Some streets like to share a list of their contact numbers for emergencies. If this is not appropriate for your street or unit block you might like to consider your immediate neighbours and let them have your contact details. In the event of a smaller emergency an older person or person with a disability may be able to call you for assistance. You could reassure them you are happy to assist so they do not feel they are a burden if they call. It could make a difference to a neighbour's peace of mind knowing that help is close by.
Make new neighbours feel welcome with a quick introduction. Perhaps give them a tip on the best local restaurant or where the closest shop is.
There may be people moving into your street who have moved from overseas and don't speak English. The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) can assist in communicating with community services and local government on 131 450.
Marrickville Council has staff who speak some of our major community languages including Arabic, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Tagalog-Filipino and Vietnamese. Phone 9335 2222.
The Metro Migrant Resource Centre may also be a useful service for a neighbour new to the country.
Look out for your neighbours' house when they're away, and offer to collect mail or water plants. Connected neighbourhoods have less incidence of crime. Pet owners could swap feeding duties while each is away on holidays.
For information on Neighbourhood Watch download this information sheet:
People with a mental disorder can experience significant distress and disability. Almost half of adult Australians will meet the criteria for a mental disorder at some point in their life, with anxiety being the most common form. Anxiety disorders generally involve feelings of tension, distress or nervousness.
Social isolation can have a devastating affect on people's lives. Being an informed neighbour may help to decrease the impact of mental illness on a neighbour in your street.
For information on issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia visit the BeyondBlue website.
Check out how a community in Newtown got activated, improved the amenity of their street and made new friends. Each year Marrickville Council awards grants to assist community groups undertake projects that benefit Marrickville Council residents.
Council provides a free booked clean up service for removal of household items and furniture, metal and white goods, branches (bundled and tied) and mattresses. When booking the service, check with your neighbours to see if they want something picked up too.
Residents can help beautify their street, park, or playground by pulling on their gloves and grabbing a bag for Clean Up Australia Day.
Ask the neighbours to bring a plate, and host a house warming party for new neighbours, a BBQ, Christmas drinks on a front lawn, an Easter egg hunt, a picnic in the park, a wine and cheese night, a pancake breakfast, a high tea, a progressive dinner party, a morning tea, or share a coffee run from the local café.
Marrickville Council runs a wide variety of activities for the community. By joining in you can meet new people, learn new skills, have fun and connect with your local community.
Volunteering is a highly rewarding experience. Volunteers meet new people, learn new skills and feel good about helping the community.
Volunteering can be anything from taking your elderly neighbour's bins out, helping them with their shopping, or regularly helping out at one of the many organisations in the Marrickville area.
No matter what your interest, there is a volunteer group that will suit. Visit this page for volunteering options in the Marrickville Council area.
While garage sales are a great way to clean-up and even make pocket money, a neighbourhood garage sale will attract more people and more sales.
Are there parents of similar-aged children in the street who could form a play group, or hold regular play dates? For more information on Council's Children and Family Services click here.
Bakers can share a piece of cake and a cup of tea with a neighbour. Sharing homemade goodies and food is a fantastic way to get to know people.
People in the street with craft and cooking knowledge might be happy to share their expertise. Handcrafts and cooking techniques used to be traditionally passed down through generations, but with extended families becoming nuclear families, this does not always occur anymore. Or, get together with neighbours and do a clothes swap (including children's clothing and toys). It's a great opportunity to clear out the wardrobe. Any clothes or toys that are left over from the swap could go to charity.
A street page or a suburb page could post swap items between neighbours, keep everyone up to date with local activities and even post creative or informative photos of the area. Residents could also use the page to promote local businesses. Tempe currently has a Facebook group with over 600 members.
Marrickville Council's four Library and History Services branches run events, movie nights, children's activities and workshops throughout the year to cover a wide range of interest and age groups.
Schools in the Marrickville area are involved in neighbourliness activities. Marrickville High School, Tempe High School and Casimir Catholic College host 'Cyber Seniors', a program where older people attend the high school and over six weeks are taught one-on-one how to use a computer. Schools can also be involved by contacting Marrickville Council.
Find out about the history of your street and share this with your neighbours. Marrickville Library and History Services maintains a range of key collections for the community that focus on the history and heritage of the Marrickville area. The collections include objects, books, newspapers, journals, DVDs, videos, microforms, CD-ROMs, and databases.
Instead of jumping in the car and driving to the supermarket knock on the neighbour's door and ask to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar. They may not be able to help, but you will have opened a conversation and perhaps in the future they might need to borrow something from you.
Wave and chat to the people exercising at the local park at the same time of the day. A walking or jogging group might be the result. Visit our Walking in Marrickville page for more information on recreational walks and a staying active in Marrickville Map.
Council has halls, parks and recreation facilities where you could hold a sports day, join a local team, or walk around and get to know the area. Enjoying the outdoors is another way to get to know people in the community. Marrickville Council's parks and reserves provide a wide variety of passive and active recreational opportunities for people of all ages - including children's playgrounds, sports fields, off-leash areas, native wetlands and picnic areas.
The range of parks in the area include heritage parks at Petersham, Camperdown and Enmore, a green corridor along the Cooks River, and an expansive recreation reserve at Tempe – along with many local playgrounds, sports fields and pocket parks.
Social Inclusion Week is held in the last week of November and aims to help ensure that all Australians feel included and valued, giving everyone the opportunity to participate fully in society. It's about connecting local communities, workmates, family and friends in order to build and strengthen relationships and networks, addressing isolation and exclusion by supporting people who may be unable to help themselves.
Australia's annual celebration of community, Neighbour Day, brings people together for a beer, a barbie or just a cuppa. Held on the last Sunday in March every year, it's the perfect day to say "thanks for being a great neighbour and for being there when I needed you most".
Other neighbourly activities include book clubs, movie nights, games nights, sewing clubs, pamper parties or band practise with other musicians on your street, car pooling, cook one night a week for a neighbour who needs help and bartering skills like bike repairing, painting and handyman services. You are only limited by your imagination!
What are you waiting for? Knock on your neighbour's door today!