In the midst of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where uncertainty can strike at the core of our everyday lives, Sunshine Coast Council is encouraging all residents to look out for their neighbours - particularly those who are most vulnerable - and show that community spirit for which our residents are renowned.
Council's #covidkindness platform will explore weekly themes to encourage residents to Stay Connected, Stay Informed, Stay Healthy, Stay Playful, Stay Creative and Stay Neighbourly to help combat social isolation, loneliness and community disconnection.
This is part of council's existing At Home in my Neighbourhood program, which encourages connected neighbourhoods and can encourage a better quality of life, feeling safe and engaged and an overall sense of belonging.
Like many acts of kindness starting to emerge online, Council officers have developed a free postcard that can be downloaded from council's website. Residents can print out the postcard and pop it in their neighbour's mailbox using good hand hygiene or screenshot and send to their neighbours electronically.
Anyone is welcome to use this and council urges residents, businesses, community organisations and other councils to share it with their communities.
It encourages people to get to know their neighbours and assist those who may be isolated or cannot get out and travel around or having difficulties coping, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast community was well-known for its generous reputation and called on everyone to get on board.
"What we're asking people to do is please reach out and check on your neighbours, especially our older neighbours," Mayor Jamieson said.
"It could be something as simple as leaving one of these postcards in your neighbour's mailbox and offering to purchase a few groceries for them if they're in social isolation, helping to put their bins out or even just writing down your phone number so they have someone to call if they need to have a chat.
"This also gives people a chance to connect in ways we might not have considered and result in lifelong friendships.
"One neighbour might be a yoga teacher who can offer meditation tips, another might be part of a Men's Shed and can help fix a wonky table leg.
"We will also be encouraging people to create their own Facebook 'street' groups and would love to hear how they are sharing the kindness that might motivate even more neighbourhood champions. Council will promote online, some of the creative ideas that are generated in our local neighbourhoods from this initiative.
"There is no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic will impact on how we live our lives, how we move about in our community, how we work and how we interact with one another.
"It is fair to say that no community will be left unscathed from this event – and the predictions are it will prevail for at least the next six months.
"What is important is that we come together as a community, support each other, look out for each other, show kindness and consideration.
"Now more than ever, we must look out for the most vulnerable in our community and think locally in every decision we make."
Next week's theme, Stay Connected, will focus on how well we really know our neighbours. A series of practical tips and resources will be available for people to get to know and stay in touch with those over the fence and, hopefully, give "Ramsay Street" a run for its money.
All information will be available on council's website at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Community-Support/At-Home-in-my-Neighbourhood and social media channels.
Council will continue to review operations as the situation evolves. For information about other council facilities and services during this time, visit council's website: www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. The website will be updated if changes are made to council's service delivery as a result of COVID-19.
Downloadable: "COVIDKindness" pdf flyer