Founder of Neighbour Day, Andrew Heslop, will be Cobar’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2016.
Mr Heslop is an awarded keynote speaker and community leader who achieved a global reputation as a social entrepreneur after founding Australia’s annual celebration of community, Neighbour Day.
Neighbour Day began in 2003 and aims to actively build social capital, promote social cohesion, integration and positive relationships between neighbours of all ages.
After the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home two years after her passing, Mr Heslop, despite not knowing the woman, said he was inspired to do something.
Through the Neighbour Day initiative, Mr Heslop has helped to empower communities and demonstrated how the power of advocacy can positively change the way people interact, achieve and communicate.
“Our communities are only as strong as the people who live in them, which is why Neighbour Day provides a chance to pause, reflect and celebrate the people who live around us,” Mr Heslop said.
“We know how vital neighbours are to each other during bushfires, floods and emergencies, but everyday actions like borrowing power tools, collecting the mail, taking in the recycling bin or walking the kids to school are often forgotten,” he said.
In March 2012 he was recognised by the NSW Parliament for Neighbour Day and in December named NSW Volunteer of the Year for developing, leading and funding Neighbour Day. Mr Heslop is also an Australia Ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s global Food Revolution Day.