We’ve reached 50 neighbourhood groups in our Network!
This was our goal for 2018! 27 of those groups wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t helped them get started. Congratulations to our own team member Bec who started the 50th group in Bayswater, Vic. Thanks to all who contributed to getting us to this important milestone!
We had a great event for Neighbour Day on Sunday 18th March. The Brimbank City Council helped fund our BBQ with a Neighbour Day grant and we had about 50 neighbours through who were mightily impressed with what everyone contributed including great company, the famous pulled lamb of our new neighbour Luke and all the amazing healthy salads, muffins and cookies that we feasted on!
It was a great day with a lovely team helping out including our resident Couch Street Fairy Lulu, Lucia Bourke who came incognito to wow us with her face painting for the kids and a wonderful party pack from the Albion and Friends Toy Library including a roller coaster ride for the toddlers. In addition to a Facebook post our generous neighbours printed and delivered 300 invites to the local streets and we were rewarded by meeting some new and old friends on the day.
Extra fun with the weather turning nasty at the last minute! Fortunately we had some wonderful neighbours answering the early morning SOS to help with the last minute change of location to my place, plus the decoration, cooking, shopping and set up. The sun did come out between showers and gusty winds – it was nice to be under shelter and not have to cancel the event altogether. Note to self, a plan B location is always a good idea! It’s been nice to hear about the connections everyone made on the day and the difference it has made having these events when we walk down our streets. It’s definitely helped to make our little part of Sunshine a much smaller place !
Jodie Williams, Street by Street Neighbour group, Sunshine, Victoria
What started as one block of apartments expanded to the entire Esplanade and has further grown to include the residential part of Acland St and surrounding streets. With more and more people asking to join, there are now 99 members! We’ve chosen the name Green Knoll Neighbour Group as Green Knoll is an old name for St Kilda, particularly the bit of it near us. We started with one Community Connector, then two and now we have five people sharing the organising.
We create lots of opportunities to meet up in person – St Kilda is full of great spots where we can share a meal, a drink or a coffee. We have a spot that any of us can drop in any Tuesday for a chat and we have dinners and brunches at varying local places. We can now enjoy live music, theatre and walks along the bay with our neighbours. With a handful to a dozen people coming to each gathering, it’s been ideal for making real connections. We’re meeting fabulous people and talking about our area and local issues. We’re supporting local businesses and spreading the word on local developments, festivals and events. We’re planning to have street parties and barbecues / picnics in the warmer months. We’re making friends and helping one another. Someone asked the group – who can take a cockatiel? A neighbour did. Someone else asked to borrow a sewing machine – 3 were offered within 24 hours! An onion for tonight’s dinner? – easy now. Offers of help to neighbours who are injured or sick – plenty! Neighbours have swapped car parks so that an older man could get into his car, a huge relief for him. People now know who they can call on to walk their dog or help when they go away.
Lots of people ask to join our group but we don’t want it to get too big (if that horse hasn’t bolted already!) so we suggest they start their own Street by Street Group. A group has just started in St Kilda West and another is starting soon in another part of St Kilda.
As it was working so well in my building (see earlier blog post), I decided to connect with all the neighbours in my street – the Esplanade in St Kilda, Melbourne. A letter dropped invitation to everyone brought out some great people and we have been meeting in local cafes and getting to know one another over a drink or a meal. We all share a love for the area. My neighbour Lorraine has joined me in being a connector for the street and we are looking for people who will initiate gatherings within each building (as there are about 8 apartment buildings) in addition to our whole-of-street group. We have 49 people in the group so far. Ideas that are surfacing are approaching the council to improve lighting in a square, helping one another, sharing information on developments that will affect us, walking along the bay together and barbecues and picnics! I’ve been living here 5 years and now that I know my neighbours, it’s feeling more like home. I’ve helped my neighbours and they’ve helped me and we’ve enjoyed one another’s company – that’s what community is all about!
Like many people I thought it was a great idea to connect with my neighbours and start living in a community instead of just a street, but I hadn’t got around to it. With Neighbour Day approaching on March 29 I bit the bullet and dropped an invitation for morning tea in my apartment in the letterboxes of all the people (owners and renters) in my building.
Fourteen neighbours came along, many meeting for the first time. We haven’t looked back! Every month or so we have morning tea in different apartments, with 10 to 20 people coming each time. We now have 25 neighbours wanting to connect out of 42 units. We have a list of activities neighbours would like to do with each other and contact details – some are playing bridge or table tennis together and we are bringing in composting. What blew me away was that someone suggested the idea that if a neighbour was unwell they’d be happy to help with shopping or something, and 10 people put their names to that! I think many of us are more than happy to help our neighbours – we just need to know them first.
One talented neighbour made the corridor on her floor an art exhibition for neighbours to come and see her beautiful paintings. Carin said, “This was the first time I showed my neighbours my work and I was really surprised at the interest and connection that it generated. It definitely helped increase the feeling of community. I shall definitely do it again!”
My wonderful neighbour Pat, who I met when searching for the source of a flute playing, is sharing the connecting role with me for our building and it’s great having someone to bounce ideas around with and share the organising.
We are looking forward to creating more opportunities to connect and share.