Being a better neighbour
July 21st, 2013
Andrew Heslop founded Neighbour Day in 2003 to encourage people to check on their elderly neighbours. Now Neighbour Day breaks out each year with street parties, barbecues, festivals and other social activities to encourage residents and communities to get together.
When hearing the story of an elderly women who was found in her home two years after passing away Andrew knew something needed to be done. He took it upon himself to write to the editor in The Age to suggest a ‘National Check on your Neighbour Day’ be created. From this letter the first Neighbour Day was observed on Sunday 30 March, 2003.
“It was humbling to see the widespread media coverage and support in this first year.
“Neighbour Day is a simple idea and activity that all Australians can take part in and raise awareness on a major issue faced by senior Australians”.
Since 2003, the evolution of Neighbour Day has been quite remarkable. What started as an urging to check on elderly neighbours has grown into a much wider annual celebration of strong communities and friendly streets.
“People of all ages participate because everyone everywhere is a neighbour no matter where they live or their personal circumstances”.
Andrew’s volunteering experiences expand far beyond Neighbour Day.
“Not only have I seen Australians embrace Neighbour Day, I have been lucky enough to have watched teams of Australian Red Cross volunteers help locals who had been evacuated from their homes and been part of the unveiling of the World’s Largest Blanket made by CWA members to re-launch the Winter Blanket Appeal.
“All of my volunteer experiences have been truly rewarding.”
Neighbour Day founder, Andrew Heslop of Double Bay, was named the 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his dedication to encouraging better relationships throughout communities across NSW and Australia at a prestigious function held Wednesday, 5 December 2012 – International Volunteer Day at the NSW Leagues Club, Sydney.
The annual Award program recognises the efforts and achievements of the millions of volunteers across NSW.
Forty eight regional individual, youth and senior volunteer winners and 21 regional volunteer team winners, gathered from across New South Wales for the announcement of the 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year winners by The Hon. Victor Dominello, Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Aboriginal Affairs, Member for Ryde is Patron of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I have worked with some inspiring volunteers along the way that continue to show me the true spirit of the community”.
Andrew is founder of Neighbour Day and the 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year.
Keep up with all the latest Awards news in the Awards section on our website.