The Covid-19 pandemic enhanced people’s vulnerabilities but also the role that neighbours can play to safeguard against them. When Covid-19 lockdowns struck, people connected like never before, offering help to neighbours and rallying to support their local shops and services. Covid-19 showed that we want to be more than individuals; that we want to be good neighbours and an active part of our local communities.
Networks and places that work to build community spirit and strengthen our neighbourhoods act to combat isolation and loneliness. Places where people have an opportunity for ideas to be exchanged with others create opportunities for relationships to form and for genuine safeguards to be built.
Across South Australia there are a number of organically grown initiatives that help to support more inclusive neighbourhoods and the health and well-being of our greater community. Yet despite the role that neighbourhood initiatives play to bring people together there are still many logistical, cultural, and structural barriers that prevent many of our neighbours and more vulnerable community members from participating regularly.
The Neighbourhood Circles Project is about supporting current and future neighbourhood initiatives to include and look out for all members of its community. Neighbourhoods where all individuals, regardless of circumstance, can experience a sense of welcome and belonging.
Explore, Amplify, Replicate and Advocate
By exploring the work being done by existing groups we hope to amplify the work that they do and strengthen their own inclusivity and accessibility. By learning and listening from existing initiatives, we hope to support the growth and replication of new and similar initiatives in other like-minded communities while continually advocating for the important role that neighbourhood-based groups play to strengthen inclusion and belonging at a grassroots level.
The Neighbourhood Circles Project aims to help neighbourhood initiatives become part of the fabric of everyday life and help address some of the barriers that prevent people from participating in them. We hope to support people to strengthen existing relationships within their communities, particularly those who may be of increased vulnerability, while also supporting the growth of new inclusive neighbourhood initiatives into the future.
The Neighbourhood Circles project is being delivered as part of the inclusive neighbourhoods initiative.
Over 18 months a project lead will work with groups across the greater Adelaide metropolitan to not only learn from the experiences of those involved in existing initiatives that bring people together, but also strengthen the norms for more inclusive neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhood Circles project is guided, supported, and overseen by committed members of a local Steering Group.
The Steering Group members are:
- Dr John Brayley – South Australia’s Chief Psychiatrist
- Prue Gorman – Executive Officer, Community Living Project
- Jayne Barrett – Manager, Community Living Project
- Ross Womersley – CEO, SACOSS
- Robbi Williams – CEO, JFA Purple Orange
- Skye Kakoschke-Moore – Policy & Research Leader, JFA Purple Orange
Who to contact for more information:
- Sarah Burrage – Project Lead (Community Living Project)
Sarah.Burrage@clp-sa.org.au or +61 0479 157 856