SORRENTO university student Sarah Maiden has organised community barbecues to help neighbours connect.
The 22-year-old ran events in Sorrento and Hillarys earlier this year as part of a three-month internship with volunteer organisation Street by Street, provided by the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.
“You don’t realise how isolating life can be for some people – particularly retirees and young mums – within their own neighbourhoods,” she said.
“There are a lot of extra barriers these days that stop people from connecting and Street By Street works around those to help people connect and open up conversations.
“I spoke with people who said they’d been living in the same place for more than 20 years and had always wanted to do something like this but didn’t know how.”
Ms Maiden set up five Street by Street groups in Perth’s northern suburbs and is continuing to work with the organisation beyond her internship to help the groups cement themselves.
“This experience has reinforced to me the benefits of working with community organisations and to opening yourself up to things you wouldn’t normally do,” she says.