January 15, 2020

The Café Conversations Project – Cafés Creating Connections

How often do you have a café full of patrons, all sipping on their drinks alone, or with only the company of a mobile phone? It seems Australians are struggling to connect with one another socially and Neighbour Day has made it their goal to change this.

Australia is in the midst of a loneliness crisis, with many in our population experiencing a deficit of social connection. When we reflect upon loneliness, many of us will think of social and emotional isolation. We may contemplate a lack of important and meaningful relationships, perhaps an absence of companionship and social interaction with others.

“Research shows that one in ten people lack social support or connection, one in six experience emotional loneliness, and just under 1.5 million Australians report they have been lonely for a decade or more,” said Ms Sam Robinson, National Neighbour Day Campaign Manager for Relationships Australia.

“Recent research commissioned by Relationships Australia, reveals that the most immediate effect of participating in Neighbour Day is that it creates new relationships, renews past relationships, and deepens existing relationships,” said Ms Robinson.

“In 2020, Neighbour Day is looking to flip the loneliness discussion to get Australians to focus instead on the importance of belonging – to start people thinking about how they can put their energy into creating positive and meaningful social connections with people outside of their normal groups and relationships. These social connections might be one-off moments or regular and lasting interactions that create one to one relationships or become the starting point for an ongoing group.”

“Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community. This year we’re supporting cafés across the country to help foster strong personal bonds and boost community connection that lasts year round. We are delighted to have the support of both Café Culture and COBAA to help us spread the message to cafés far and wide.”

“Our new campaign, The Café Conversations Project, encourages cafés to take some form of neighbourly action or activity on the last Sunday in March. However, we’d love for cafés to get involved in the project in the days and weeks leading up to Neighbour Day and really make March a massive month of creating connections!” Ms. Robinson said.

To support and inspire cafés to get involved, Neighbour Day has provided an information pack with ready to use resources and ideas – free when you register with The Café Conversations Project online.

Participating cafés can also upload a photo of their event(s) to social media, using official Neighbour Day hashtags, for the opportunity to win one of five Neighbour Day gift packs for use in their café and as giveaway prizes for their patrons.

Neighbour Day is held annually on the last Sunday in March; however, they believe that being neighbourly shouldn’t be reserved for just one day each year, and that every day should be Neighbour Day. Activities can be held on the day (29 March), or any day that suits your café, staff and customers.
“As natural hubs for social interaction, cafés have all the elements needed to create connections and to share great conversations. With a little creativity, enthusiasm and preparation, cafés can tap into this opportunity to engage their customer base for a good cause”, Ms. Robinson said.

“There is no limit to what businesses can do to celebrate Neighbour Day. Each year thousands of people across Australia participate in hundreds of creative and exciting events and neighbourly actions.”
The Café Conversations Project provides resources, support and inspiration to help get your café started.

Why not join Neighbour Day in their quest to strengthen Australian communities? To learn more about Neighbour Day or The Café Conversations Project, visit here.
You can also follow all the Neighbour Day action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Media Contact: Sam Robinson, National Neighbour Day Campaign Manager, Relationships Australia. or M: 0448 040 560

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