Lifestyle

Creating Safe Neighbourhoods Starts With a Single Word

By: Georgia Free

When I was a child, I remember spending my weekends playing in the street, from dawn until dusk, knowing that if I needed anything I could run across the road to Penny and Phil – my neighbours- turned-adopted grandparents.

Fast forward fifteen years – I live alone in an apartment and I couldn’t even tell you my neighbours’ names.

Today, despite record levels of connection online, only one third of us know our neighbours well. But we can do something about it.

Ben Hannant, former NRL player and Safe Gates Ambassador, joined Hope Drive to share how we can regain our physical villages.

Important for kids

“It’s so important to live in a community that we feel safe in and can trust,” Ben said.

A father of eight children, Ben has intentionally created community in his street – both for the safety of his family, and his property.

“One quarter of us don’t let our kids play outside because we don’t know our neighbours,” Ben said. “Building these relationships makes it so our kids can venture out and have that childhood that we did when we were younger.”

Getting started

Getting to know new people can be daunting at first, but Ben encourages us to start simple.

“All you have to do is say hello,” Ben said. “We live in a society where we’re more connected online, but in person we’ve really taken a backward step.

“It makes you feel safe when you’re connected with people. Why not start with the people who live around you?”

Ben’s tips on building safe neighbourhoods

  • Say hello
  • Exchange phone numbers
  • Three-a-side: get to know your neighbours either side and across the road from you
  • Build a community online: start a Facebook or WhatsApp group for the street

For more information on safe neighbourhoods, read the Safe Gates report.


Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Georgia Free is a broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.

Feature image: Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash 

 

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