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How neighbourly are you?

You probably grew up singing Australia's unofficial yet internationally recognised anthem "Neighbours... everybody needs good neighbours", but have you ever stopped to ask yourself if you actually fit that description?

Just like Aussies are known for "riding kangaroos to school" and "having pet koalas", our neighbourly-ness may not be as the rest of the world assumes.

One in five Australians have never met the people living over the fence, more than half couldn't tell you their neighbours' names and around one quarter wouldn't recognise each other if they crossed paths on the street.

However, it seems some neighbourhoods are more friendly than others. Big cities are generally home to the least connected residents, with Melbourne coming in as the lowest scoring federal electorate and Sydney following closely behind.

This difference in neighbourhood friendliness is something that Maria Fitzgerald, now a resident of Kingscliff in regional NSW, has noticed.

"It's amplified when you're living in a big city as people are too busy reading their phones, rushing to work or running late to stop and say hello," she said.

"It's really lovely to live in a community where people greet you on the streets or stop for a chat on the beach."

Social connections For Neighbour Day 2020

The benefits of getting to know the people living just metres away go well beyond having someone to feed your pets while you're on holiday or borrow a cup of flour from when you've run out. Building strong connections in the community reduces stress, encourages residents to get active and also improves feelings of isolation.

In 2019, Feros Care launched Be Someone For Someone, a charitable initiative to tackle loneliness. The organisation comes off the back of the alarming statistics that 1 in 4 Australians will suffer loneliness at some point, and that loneliness is a growing killer - increasing the risk of premature death by more than a quarter.

Sharing the belief that no one should feel lonely, we have partnered with Relationships Australia as an official Very Neighbourly Organisation in time for the 2020 Neighbour Day campaign. Held on the last Sunday of March every year, the campaign reflects our mission of tackling loneliness through meaningful connections and amplifies the work we are already doing at a grassroots level.

Be Someone For Someone fights loneliness this Neighbour Day

"Building connected communities is a huge aspect of the work we do at Feros Care and Be Someone For Someone every day," said Jo Winwood, Head of Be Someone For Someone.

"Our partnership with Relationships Australia as a Very Neighbourly Organisation is another way we can raise awareness of the importance of community connections and encourage even more people to connect with each other locally. Everyone benefits."

Getting behind the cause is easy. It could be as simple as starting a friendly conversation with someone at your local cafe, offering to help your neighbour with a small job around the house, or inviting someone over for a coffee.

With your support this Neighbour Day, and every day, we can tackle loneliness, one neighbourhood at a time.

To find out more about Neighbour Day, visit www.neighbourday.org or www.relationships.org.au.

To find out more about the work that Feros Care does, check out the website by clicking here.