How the hardships of COVID-19 strengthened communities like never before
The true character of individuals, and the strength of our relationships with others, is more often than not revealed by the choices that we make when faced with difficult circumstances. 2020 has tested individuals, relationships and communities across the globe more than any of us could have anticipated. And while there have been plenty of trying times and disheartening moments, the strength and value of a connected community has never been more evident.
At Frasers Property communities across Australia, residents have drawn together in shows of solidarity, empathy and mateship.
At Queens Riverside in WA, residents observed a minute’s silence on ANZAC Day as local resident and music teacher Evan played the last post from an apartment balcony. At Fairwater in NSW, residents exchanged their favourite family recipes to spice up midweek meals. And at The Grove in Victoria, residents gathered in their driveways and on their front lawns to enjoy a socially distanced afternoon tea.
Community Development Manager, Michelle Mrzyglocki oversees community engagement at several communities in WA and says that the last nine months have been a testament to the strength of connected communities.
“In the early years of a new community, so much time and care is put into providing opportunities for residents to get to know one another and establish connections, even if that just means knowing their neighbours’ names or being part of a resident Facebook group,” says Michelle. “We never could have foreseen the impacts of COVID-19, but what we have seen is those early connections now forming really important parts of everyday life.”
Residents of Fairwater utilised ‘kindness cards’ to offer support to their neighbours through their mailboxes. From doing grocery runs for essential workers, to sparing a rare roll of toilet paper and sharing home-schooling resources, every community member pitched in to support those around them.
And at Ed.Square in NSW, the first wave of residents moving into the community used printed ‘get to know your neighbour’ cards to introduce themselves to their new neighbours in lieu of a welcome event, set to come later in the year.
“It’s been amazing to see residents engaging with the activities we’ve put forward, but even more incredible to see them coming up with so many new initiatives by themselves,” says Michelle.
At Cova in QLD, residents joined in on the popular bear-hunt taking over social media, decorating their front windows with teddy bears and other stuffed animals for local children to spot on their walks around the neighbourhood.
At the same time, an hour away on the banks of the Brisbane River, residents of Hamilton Reach established a free community library to stay connected and inspired. Hamilton Northshore Men’s Shed members constructed the weatherproof library case, helped by donations from Frasers Property and Bunnings. Books covering all genres and suitable for all ages have been donated by residents and managed by a volunteer librarian.
With restrictions now easing in all states, life is slowly returning to normal for our residents. But these trying months will leave behind an enduring lesson about the importance of knowing our neighbours and reaching out to offer and ask for help.
Our communities will enter 2021 stronger, more connected, and prouder than ever before.
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