Learn to love thy neighbour

The team behind the inaugural Neighbour Day event. 180039_01 Pictures: ROB CAREW

By Kyra Gillespie

Cardinia’s breakneck population growth is leaving families feeling ‘isolated’ and ‘unsafe’.

To help combat the problem Community Engagement Coordinator Shoheli Sunjida launched Neighbour Day in Officer in an effort to encourage community safety and cohesion through friendship.

“Research shows that a child who knows their neighbours feels safe to live in that neighbourhood,” Ms Sunjida said.

“Lots of people have been telling me how isolated they feel in the community because they don’t know the people living around them.

“So I decided to so something where people could come and meet people and feel included.”

The inaugural family-friendly event held on Sunday 22 April could not have materialised at a better time; with recent data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing Officer as one of Victoria’s top-ten fastest growing suburbs.

The day at Arcadia Estate in Officer boasted a huge range of fun activities, including pony rides, henna tattooing and games for adults and children alike.

“I believe we have a very diverse community here and everyone has something to offer.

“By bringing everyone together we were able to celebrate that diversity. It was fantastic.

“I am planning to continue this event every year; hopefully one in winter and one in summer.”

Those interested in assisting with organising the next event are encouraged to email shoheli.sunjida@yahoo.com.au.