10 tips to create belonging

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This Sunday 26 March 2023 is Neighbour Day – it’s a day to celebrate the diverse community in which we live and reach out and connect with our neighbours. Belonging occurs when people feel safe, comfortable, and accepted for who they are.

So, how do we create a community in which everyone feels they belong? Connecting with those who live around you is the first step. Here are 10 ways to reach out and make these connections, which will ultimately make your life (as well as those around you), more fulfilling.

  1. Start small talk. Take the opportunity to say hello to a neighbour you see outside. Stop for a chat and ask a question to deepen the connection. Perhaps ask how long they’ve lived in the area, where they’re from or what they like about your neighbourhood.
  2. Give a gift. Do you have a new neighbour that’s moved into your building or street? Drop a welcome gift at their doorstep with a personal note. A potted herb or bunch of flowers is all you need to make someone feel welcome.
  3. Have a cuppa by the kerb. Set up a chair outside your home and watch the world (and neighbours) go by. Set up with a coffee or tea flask and offer a cup to anyone who wants to join you. Perhaps add a spare seat for those who want to stop a while and have a chat.
  4. Help a neighbour out. A random act of kindness is a good way to help your fellow neighbours. Perhaps mow the lawn for an elderly neighbour or sweep the gutters. Spend time outside doing some household chores is a great way to talk to those who live in the street, too.
  5. Start a communication wall. Do you live in an apartment building? Is there a communal notice board for residents? Post a picture of books you want to share or other items you might want to pass on, such as toys, bikes, or clothing. A notice board is a great way to create community within your apartment building.
  6. Host a get together. If you live in an apartment building, you might want to get to know others in your building by hosting an afternoon tea or gathering. Invite those who live around you with letters under their door. The same can be done if you live on a street by popping letter in their letterbox.
  7. Create a community project. A street library, conversation bench, bird feeder or art display, is a great way to build sense of community on your street or in your building. When people feel they’re part of a community, there’s a sense of love and respect for their neighbourhood, which benefits everyone.
  8. Listen well. Some people really need extra support and being offered the chance to be listened to is important. Active listening involves asking questions, listening carefully to the response and following up with more questions to clarify. It’s just one way to ensure you’re connecting genuinely with your fellow neighbours.
  9. Involve the kids. Do you have children in your neighbourhood? Leave some chalk out on the footpath and encourage those that walk pas to add to the drawing.
  10. Be patient. Some people are cautious and take time getting to know others – be patient, a build-up of small connections will help create a deeper relationship over time.

For more infomation on Neighbour Day and how to make Neighbour Every Day,  click here.

Last Updated: 28 March 2023
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