Supporting the Riverina’s Rural Communities

News & Events

Living in a rural area is often a rewarding lifestyle but can at times be lonely experience – whether you’ve lived there your whole life, or if you’ve just relocated.

In rural areas, there are fewer people around, which makes it harder to find your “tribe”. You may live far apart from your neighbours, making it difficult to meet and interact with others regularly. This lack of social interaction and limited opportunities for socialising can contribute to feelings of loneliness.

Loneliness can have extremely negative effects on your overall mental and physical well-being. It can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety and even depression. When people feel lonely, they may also struggle with finding support or assistance when they need it.

We have been providing Rural Support Services across the Riverina for the past six years, and in that time much has changed. The pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 were particularly tough on people who relied on community events for their social support. 

While we’re getting back to normal in the Riverina with the return of community events, another challenge is emerging. With the price of housing going up everywhere, more people from nearby cities have been seeking affordable housing in the region, and it can be a big change to adjust to rural life.

This is particularly true for young families who are used to having more options in metro areas – not only in terms of family entertainment, but also when accessing services. They may also find themselves dealing with an “old vs new” mentality in some areas, which can be very tough on your sense of belonging.

Whatever your situation and challenges, our Rural Support Services team is there to help. Our aim is to support you to make whatever change feels right for you. It’s never about telling people how they need to change. And we’re there to listen if you just need to talk.

Two strategies for combating loneliness in rural communities

If you are living in a rural community, these strategies can help you combat feelings of loneliness and isolation:

Tap into the community spirit

One of the greatest strengths we see in the rural communities across the Riverina is unity. Community members are always there for each other when things go wrong.

If you’re feeling alone, try tapping into this wonderful community spirit by checking out events in the community, whether it’s weekly lunches at the local church or weekend sports events. Community centres are always a great place to start.

Reach out and get to know your neighbours

When you hear your neighbour outside in the back garden, go out and do a spot of weeding. It can all start with a wave and a smile over the back fence.

Not only can this help build your own social network – it could save someone’s life. We know of neighbours who were only “over the fence” casual acquaintances, and yet they were the first ones to notice a change of routine and raise the alarm that there was a possible medical emergency. 

Check out Relationship Australia’s Neighbours Every Day site for more neighbourly inspiration.

Our Rural Support Services are free and confidential services that help people living across the Riverina with a range of issues, including loneliness and isolation, family violence and counselling for individuals, couples and families. For more information, contact our Riverina office on (02) 6923 9100.