People of LoganMarch 05, 2024 / 4 minute read

Finding new friends next door

When it comes to being neighbourly, Michelle Hunter is leading the way in Bahrs Scrub as a prime example. 

This year, Sunday March 31 is Neighbour Day – an initiative of Relationships Australia – and Michelle is sharing her motivations and methods so others might make the most of living together in the same suburb.  

‘Hopefully I can encourage others that everyone has something that’s relevant to their life they could bring to the community,’ Michelle says. 

Photo courtesy of Rob Geary & Frasers Property Australia.

Five months ago, Michelle moved to Bahrs Scrub from acreage at Jimboomba where she had lived for the past 17 years, and where she had little interaction with her distant neighbours. 

Now she is making  personal connections in her new Brookhaven Estate community and building social networks for others.  

‘When our last child left home and my mother went to live in aged care, it was a reality check because I had lived in Jimboomba all those years and didn’t really know anybody, which was very confronting,’ Michelle says. 

Moving into a street where many houses were being built at the same time has helped Michelle develop budding friendships. However, after years of isolation it was unfamiliar territory. 

‘I was out of my comfort zone, but realised if I wanted more out of my neighbourhood relationships then I should make the effort to build those friendships,’ she says. 

In a few short months, Michelle founded a local ‘Adopt An Aged Care Resident’ program for neighbours to give Christmas presents to nearby aged care residents without visitors or family to share gifts with. 

She has also distributed yarn to locals for knitting and crocheting knee rugs for aged care residents, and held a sewing get-together for the Pillowcases For Oncology Kids group, which donates to children undergoing cancer treatment in hospitals. 

‘Facebook groups are good for reaching out to see if like-minded neighbours have time to connect and I have cringed to hit the send button, but I’m always blown away by the response,’ Michelle says. 

‘You know they say that if you build it, they will come – well, people do genuinely want to participate, to contribute, but maybe don’t know how to on their own.’ 

Michelle encourages everyone to try being more neighbourly. ‘I am more confident with connections now and can already see the benefits of the community links that are happening for everyone I have met,’ she says. 

This Neighbour Day, Relationships Australia encourages people to begin with a friendly smile, ‘hello’ or compliment, start a quick chat and follow up the conversation next time, initiate a kind gesture as small as sharing garden cuttings, host an event or leave a thoughtful note. Learn more on the Logan City Council website.

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