How often do you connect with your neighbours? Not just the ones next door, but others we connect with locally - and further afield online.
March 26 is Neighbour Day, an annual event started by social commentator, broadcaster and community activist Andrew Heslop 21 years ago. He was inspired by the shocking story of an elderly Melbourne woman who was discovered at home two years after she'd died alone, with no one keeping an eye out for her.
Relationships Australia, which provides services and support to people of all ages to enable sustainable and respectful relationships, acts as custodian of the day.
Its national executive officer Nick Tebbey said that while the day is an important annual event to reflect and celebrate community connections, more recently the emphasis has been on Neighbours Every Day.
"Community and neighbourhood connections are important all year round," he said. "It's where people feel safest and have a sense of belonging.
"While Neighbour Day provides a national focus on community connections, we encourage everyone to get to know their neighbours and let those relationships grow organically."
Mr Tebbey said our concept of neighbourhood and community through COVID changed.
"We did things differently, including connecting more with people online. We saw neighbours engaging, offering to bring bins in, collect groceries... looking out for one another. It was one of the silver linings of the pandemic.
"We also saw a reframing of the concept of who is our neighbour - from people next door through to a broader community of people with shared interests."
Mr Tebbey describes Neighbours Every Day as the next evolution of the Neighbour Day campaign.
"Our theme throughout this year is Create Belonging - a call to individuals, community groups, business and governments, to take everyday actions that create social connection and foster respectful relationships."
For the day, councils and organisations across the country are signed up as Very Neighbourly Organisations with registered events. There are also many events not formally registered.
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