Celebrating Neighbour Day with Nature Blocks & Relationships Australia: Creating and Sharing Belonging

Celebrating Neighbour Day in Australia is all about taking action to create a sense of community and belonging, and to share that by inviting people ‘in’. 

As a nationally celebrated day of action, Neighbour Day is an integral element of Relationships Australia’s social connection campaign, Neighbours Every Day, and takes place on the last Sunday in March. 

If you’re looking for practical ways to celebrate Neighbour Day, then consider creating a Nature Block and downloading the CVA Community app.

Nature Blocks are small spaces dedicated to enhancing biodiversity and building back nature, and when created collaboratively they can be an opportunity to share belonging and create a sense of community. 

Our Nature Blocks™ initiative, which is proudly supported by the Bupa Foundation, has been designed to not only enhance biodiversity in backyards across Australia – but to also deliver health and wellness benefits while getting people involved in, and connected with, our conservation community.

Below we take a deeper look at Neighbour Day, reasons to create and share belonging, and how Nature Blocks can help create belonging, community and an enhanced sense of wellbeing. 

 

What is Neighbour Day? 🏘

Neighbour Day is an annual celebration of community in Australia, focused on the importance of establishing respectful and sustainable relationships. It’s also about actively engaging people in creating and sharing a feeling of belonging within their neighbourhoods and communities.

Participating in Neighbour Day is a great way to strengthen social connections in your local area. You can get involved by hosting or contributing to events that engage and assist your communities.

Neighbour Day is celebrated each year on the last Sunday in March. 

 

Reasons to create and share belonging 🤝 

The theme for Neighbours Every Day in 2024 is ‘Create Belonging, Share Belonging’, calling on everyone to get involved in creating connections and respectful relationships in their communities and neighbourhoods.

Acknowledging that not everyone feels a sense of belonging, inclusion, and connection – there are many things we can do to create belonging. Their annual day of action, Neighbour Day, therefore empowers everyone in Australia to be involved in doing so, through the provision of free resources, which support neighbourly actions and community events.

At Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), we also place value in creating and sharing belonging. Our mission is to empower a community of nature stewards to protect and restore our natural environment while also fostering social connection, placemaking, and a sense of belonging. At CVA, we recognise the many benefits of sharing belonging. 

 

Here’s a summary of Relationships Australia’s reasons to share belonging:

1️⃣ We need to share belonging by inviting others to be part of our community because belonging doesn’t happen in isolation.

2️⃣ Sharing belonging can help people overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness, which in turn can have positive effects on mental health and wellbeing.

3️⃣ Diverse, inclusive, cohesive communities are stronger and more resilient, helping them to collectively and collaboratively find solutions, overcome challenges, and adapt to change more easily. 

4️⃣ By sharing belonging and fostering a sense of connectedness and community, neighbourhoods and communities become more interesting, innovative and creative – drawing on the experiences and skills of everyone. 

5️⃣ Neighbourhoods and communities that share belonging can enhance levels of generosity towards others and continue the cycle of sharing belonging. This can help improve and enhance relationship satisfaction and wellbeing while allowing people to practise living with more empathy and compassion.

 

How Nature Blocks Can Create Belonging and Wellness 🌵 

There are many compelling reasons to get involved in creating and sharing belonging in our neighbourhoods and communities. 

Imagine a world where all communities could thrive on mutual respect and understanding, where everyone feels included and feels a sense of place and connection built on respectful relationships. 

This is ultimately the vision of Neighbours Every Day and Neighbour Day in Australia: to positively transform and enhance our societies through respectful, genuine relationships.

One of the practical ways in which people can share belonging and enhance biodiversity is to get involved in creating Nature Blocks. 

Nature Blocks is a CVA initiative that involves people and communities in building back nature in cities. As a volunteer nonprofit organisation, CVA is committed to protecting and restoring nature, while also helping enhance people’s wellness and create a community of like-minded conservation volunteers who take action for nature. 

Nature Blocks have many benefits for urban biodiversity as their creation involves planting native plant species. Creating Nature Blocks can also have positive impacts on health and wellness. CVA’s recently published Our Nature Blocks report, for example, found that 97% of people who took part in the Nature Blocks initiative, felt their health and wellbeing improved as a result.

In addition, Nature Blocks can build belonging and community, especially where neighbours and communities come together to create Nature Blocks, or to enjoy the spaces that Nature Blocks have enhanced. 

Getting involved in creating Nature Blocks can enhance social cohesion, community, belonging, and connectedness. 

 

Building belonging and communities with Nature Blocks

Below are three examples of how Nature Blocks can be used to build belonging in communities, while at the same time building back nature, enhancing resilience and offering opportunities to improve health and wellness. 

1. Communities can create Nature Blocks together.

Neighbours, neighbourhoods, and communities can get involved in collaboratively creating Nature Blocks. This can help bring communities together, build belonging and enhance biodiversity while providing opportunities to be immersed in nature.

For example, neighbours could build an insect hotel in their community, or plant a Nature Block on a shared nature strip: or colleagues could collaboratively create and care for a Nature Pot at their workplace.

 

2. The CVA Community app creates a digital community of volunteers and conservationists.

Everyone can download the CVA Community app and join our digital community of like-minded people who are taking action to protect and restore nature. 

The app provides step-by-step instructions and educational materials to support you in creating Nature Blocks. 

To date, over 600 Nature Blocks have been established across Australia, and 72,802 people have engaged with Nature Blocks.

3. Nature Blocks help people everywhere learn about nature and share their knowledge. 

At CVA, we host a range of conservation volunteering events across the country. Some of these include events focused on getting the next generation of conservation stewards to learn more about nature by creating their own Nature Blocks. 

For example, our recent Nature Blocks Junior Workshop involved kids getting their hand dirty planting over 32 native plants including the Weeping Bottlebrush (Melaleuca viminalis), the Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa) and Koala Bells (Artanema fimbriatum). 

The children learned about their local habitats while getting to meet one another and interact, connected by their actions for nature. We hope this will encourage a generation of children who share their knowledge about nature, inspiring even more people to create Nature Blocks.  

Start your own Nature Block with your community!

Get started with creating your very own Nature Block and help to build back nature in your city. Consider opportunities to involve neighbours, colleagues, friends and family in creating Nature Blocks so that you not only build back nature but also create and share belonging. 

If you’re looking for a community of nature-loving changemakers, download the CVA Community app where you’ll find resources on how to create your own Nature Block. 

 

What is Neighbours Every Day? 🏘  

Beyond Neighbour Day, its principles are kept alive throughout the year through the Neighbours Every Day campaign.

Launched in 2022, Neighbours Every Day builds upon the twenty-year legacy of Relationships Australia’s Neighbour Day social connection campaign. It highlights the advantages of nurturing well-connected and resilient communities.

The initiative embodies the spirit of genuine inclusion, making people feel welcome, and creating a sense of belonging in a community. This approach leads to respectful relationships that positively impact mental health, wellbeing, and our natural environment.

Participating in Neighbour Day is a great way to strengthen social connections in your local area. You can get involved by hosting or contributing to events that engage and assist your communities. For more information on how to take action, you can visit the Neighbours Every Day website.

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