Neighbour Day is the focus for the City of Victor Harbor

Caring Neighbourhood Program staff member Jo Daniels is a friendly voice at the end of the phone line for many of the programs clients.
Caring Neighbourhood Program staff member Jo Daniels is a friendly voice at the end of the phone line for many of the programs clients.

In difficult times communities naturally band together to support one-another.

It feels unnatural to be in a position of distance from other people, but in light of necessary social distancing, drawing strength from neighbours and local community this Neighbour Day is more important than ever.

On Sunday, March 29, is Neighbour Day. A day that focuses on the importance of belonging and sense of community - both of which are vital for everyone's well-being.

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said research showed that a connected community was a resilient community in a time of crisis.

"When we are advised to isolate ourselves, we should be thinking of how we can continue to connect with our neighbours and our community in more creative ways. This can be as simple as phoning a friend, using video-conferencing technology to check in with a family member, or spending quality time with the people you live with," Dr Jenkins said.

Other strategies include: Make a regular telephone date with a friend or neighbour, and catch up, over the phone and a cup of coffee, Chat over the fence to your neighbours to check on them and see if you can share resources, Drop a note into your neighbour's letterbox to let them know you are thinking about them and include your phone number, Organise a virtual gathering using the social media platforms available, Check on an elderly neighbour to see if they have what they need, Cook an extra dinner for someone you know who is in isolation, or having difficulty getting out and about.

"There are many ways we can help others and even involve children. They could make some 'Hello Cards' and deliver them to neighbours or your local nursing home to cheer up isolated people. - You will add a smile to their day," Dr Jenkins said..

Programs such as the Caring Neighbourhood Program based at the City of Victor Harbor endeavours to support older isolated people to feel a sense of belonging and community.

Older people are more vulnerable to becoming socially isolated. When faced with the fear of a potentially threatening illness like COVID-19 (Coronavirus), they will understandably be feeling more isolated and anxious. Many older people are withdrawing from their usual social networks or their social options have been cancelled and as a consequence this can impact their health and well-being.

"We are adapting our program to focus on supporting people through regular phone calls, offering home delivery of library books, puzzles and DVD's and even connecting people as pen pals," Dr Jenkins said.

"Social connection is something that we all take for granted when it is easy. But when it is missing in our life, it can have a major impact on our wellbeing.

"So now is the time to really show how our community can be supportive and connected through tough times. Get together with your family and brainstorm how you can give 'virtual hugs' to those who are feeling isolated and how you can be great neighbours during this tough time by connecting with others 'outside the square'."