SURF Coast Community leaders have united to create a new community group to strengthen connection and bring back the Surf Coast’s “village feel”.
Three community organisation leaders have banded together to create Hello Surf Coast and are focusing on reconnecting neighbours through Hello Happy Hour, an initiative encouraging residents to hit the curb and meet their neighbours for a cuppa or wine and a “hello” to break down community barriers.
After meeting for the first time on a Zoom call during the lockdown period, Surf Coast Angels volunteer Nicole Dickmann, said she, Torquay Community House co-ordinator Laura Connor and Feed Me Surf Coast co-ordinator Brook Murphy, realised they shared a common goal.
“We realised there was a great need to pull what used to be a Surf Coast village feel back together,” Ms Dickmann said.
“Following the COVID isolation we are disjointed and some of us displaced and it is time to come together again.
“We started with all these big ideas, but realised we didn’t need this big campaign, we could do one small thing which could help in a big way.”
“The concept naturally evolved.”
Ms Connor was inspired after seeing desperate communities across the world find a way through isolation.
“I noticed in Europe a lot of Italians were coming out on their balconies at 6pm every night and singing and playing their piano accordions,” she said.
“I was thinking how great it was, because as well as bringing positivity and making connections, they were seeing who wasn’t present certain nights which creates an awareness.
“That is what we are trying to do with the Hello Surf Coast.”
Residents can champion the campaign in their respective street, close, strip, court or place by registering themselves as “Street Champion”.
Ms Murphy has nominated her family for the role.
“During the first lockdown, my children and my neighbours and I would go out in the afternoon and paint a mural. We started it in April and each afternoon we would add a bit more,” she said.
“So we will keep painting our mural on the ‘Happy Hour’ afternoon and beyond.”
Head to HelloSurfcoast.com.au, facebook.com/HelloSurfcoast and @HelloSurfcoast on Instagram for more information.