Col Dutton, UDIA WA President column within West Real Estate

Anzac Day holds a very special place in Australia’s communal hearts. It is a day we have traditionally congregated in public to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country.

While we may not be able to physically come together to mark the occasion today, we are experiencing yet another example of how our communities have been able to connect during the current restrictions, despite having to keep a physical distance.

I have heard of several dawn services taking place this morning, with people planning to stand at the end of their driveway, on their balcony or tune in online to listen to a service and pay their respects.

Local RSLs, schools and other community groups across Perth and the regions are facilitating virtual community services so today remains special and, most importantly, our service men and women are recognised.

The innovation that communities have shown in finding an appropriate way to connect and remember on Anzac Day is reflective of a broader community spirit that has emerged through increased neighbourhood connections over the last few weeks.

Technology and virtual connections have played a critical role in ensuring we remain connected with our neighbours, family and friends.

Community Facebook groups, WhatsApp chats and other online portals have taken on a whole new significance.

A great initiative I recently came across that is being supported by the community organisation Chorus is ‘Street Teams’.

A Street Team is a group of neighbours that work together to help and support each other during the COVID-19 restrictions. The website provides resources, tips and a social media support group to assist volunteers to set up a Street Team in their neighbourhood. Resources include tips on starting a Street Team, health advice and templates to get in touch with people in your street and start helping with things like picking up groceries or medications for those who need it, making a phone call to someone who is alone, helping someone with IT questions or setting up a driveway activity such as Friday drinks or an exercise routine.

UDIA has been sharing on our own Facebook page many of the community activities that have been popping up all over WA including local government neighbour assist initiatives, ‘books on wheels’ mobile library services, meal delivery services for those in need, bear hunts, rainbow trails and much more.

It is fantastic to see that strong communities can work together to weather the COVID-19 storm, and I look forward to seeing how we continue to come up with new ways to connect.