During July, the coldest month of the year, we been observed our second ever Good Neighbour Month. During Good Neighbour Month we had a focus on calling our communities to take seriously the need to be good neighbours, especially to people at the margins of our society. Good Neighbour Month is run in a partnership between Life* Expedition and Urban Seed.
On July 4 we launched Good Neighbour Month with a flash mob in a very rainy Bourke Street Mall. The event opened up many conversations about being a good neighbour, with various people ranging from students to city council workers. We continued the conversation on Facebook and Twitter throughout July. Some of these conversations led to plans for some laneway cricket matches between our business neighbours and members of the street community. Our experience has been that these encounters create opportunities for neighbours to break down some of the stereotypes that keep us separated in our communities.
This year we gave our first Good Neighbour Award to our partners at Collins Street Baptist Church, for their commitment to being good neighbours to a wide range of people. Over twenty years ago CSBC responded to the needs of their neighbourhood by starting the Urban Mission Unit, which we now know as Urban Seed.
During the month Life* Expedition took the opportunity of their Annual Celebration Dinner on July 18 to raise funds for the youth work of Operation Stitches at some of Melbourne’s inner city public housing estates.
We also had our friends at Kinfolk Café and STREAT working with Credo Team and Life* Expedition to organise a Progressive Laneway Dinner in Melbourne CBD on Saturday night (August 1). The funds raised will help support Urban Seed’s work of providing spaces of belonging in the neighbourhoods where we work. We were really pleased with how the dinner went. It was a great opportunity to work closely with our neighbours at STREAT, Kinfolk and Life* Expedition and we were also able to connect with a lot of new people for the first time.
Of course, just because Good Neighbour Month has finished for another year doesn’t mean we stop working on be good neighbours. July was an opportunity to try change our habits as a society. But whatever month it may be, there is no time like the present to get to know our neighbours better and help strengthen our communities.