Victorians are craving connected neighbourhoods

The first extended lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment of uncertainty, it reminded society how debilitating isolation and loneliness can be.

This has emphasised the value of maintaining good connections with a variety of people, something we can forget when we get caught up in the “froth and bubble” of life.

It has reminded us that we need close ties with trusted friends and beyond that the ability to get along with a wide range of people who can provide that buffer or support during hard times.

An encouraging phenomenon to emerge from the collective experience of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the diverse and creative ways that families, neighbours and communities have sought to maintain social connection.

The resilience that comes with us reconnecting with our neighbours currently is imperative to our neighbourhoods being happy productive and safe. Therefore, a well-connected society will be a more satisfying place to live.

Although it will be some years before we adequately understand and account for these impacts, initial research has demonstrated that we are less connected than what we were 30 years ago, when people would estimate they had at least 7 neighbours they would feel comfortable “dropping in on” whereas now, that number has dropped to 4. (Source: “Reconnected: A Community Builder’s Handbook.” Leigh, Andrew and Terrell, Nick. LaTrobe UP: 2020.)

Neighbours provide that instant one on one contact that all humans desire. They might take out your bins, collect your mail for you or park in your driveway whilst you’re away.

“The long-term public health impacts of social isolation and loneliness can be turned around by the collaborative efforts of practitioners and researchers from multiple disciplines to generate evidence-based policy and programs.”

~ How the COVID-19 pandemic is focusing attention on loneliness and social isolation

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