Popping next door to borrow a cup of sugar is not common these days. In fact, research shows less than half of Australians actually know their neighbour by name. Relationships Australia national executive officer Nick Tebbey said coronavirus was changing that, with the pandemic prompting neighbours to reach out to one another for support as social-distancing measures increased.
“It’s part of the Australian psyche and we see it in times of crisis like the bushfires and the droughts,” Mr Tebbey said.
“Neighbours and communities want to make sure the most vulnerable people are looked after.
“The difference now is we’re all vulnerable with this pandemic.
“I think there’s great cause for optimism to see all these amazing stories of neighbours doing things that are really about building connections with those around them.
“Every day we’re seeing examples of that all over the country.”
Mr Tebbey said “online neighbourhoods” were also expanding in response to the virus, connecting those in distant suburbs, interstate or even overseas.
“We’re seeing a huge uptake of people setting up WhatsApp and Facebook chats to communicate with their immediate neighbours,” he said.
“Technology is the great connector we need right now.”