Australia Day Ambassador and the founder of Neighbour Day, Australia's annual celebration of community, which actively promotes social cohesion, integration and positive relationships between neighbours of all ages all year round. On the last Sunday in March it brings together the people next door, across the street or on the next farm for a beer, a barbie or just a cup of tea. Andrew shows how the power of community advocacy can change the way we interact, achieve and communicate.
Andrew Heslop’s commitment to community, and his acknowledgement of its collective ability to create and cause change, is fast gaining him a reputation as a leading commentator both in Australia and internationally.
He is the sole founder of Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community, which he instigated in 2003. The event is passionately supported by communities across the country, local government and through a wealth of media partnerships which run the length and breadth of Australia.
In 2012 the Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC, provided a message of support celebrating the 10th anniversary of Neighbour Day. In May 2008 Andrew spoke at the United Nations headquarters in New York about developing Neighbour Day which has grown organically from a simple idea he expressed in a letter to the editor to become a major national community event. He has also presented a paper to the Gulbenkian Organisation in the UK on the
establishment of Neighbour Day as a concept through the UK and Europe.
In 2009, he delivered the keynote address at the launch of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras to an audience of 70,000 people at Fair Day in Victoria Park. He was listed by the [sydney]magazine as one of Sydney’s TOP 100 Most Influential People in the January 2010 edition and was first named an Australia Day Ambassador in 2011.
To coincide with the 25th anniversary of the television show Neighbours, a week long story arc was woven in to the show to promote the first Neighbour Day Festival in Erinsborough. The episodes were seen in over 65 countries by an estimated 120 million people. Andrew is a Champion for the National Broadband Network and a Champion for the National Compact, the Australian Government’s social inclusion strategy.
He has also been recognised for his work within the community through:
• Delegate to The People’s Parliament 2011
• The Westpac Prize – winning the individual category in 2010
• Marrickville Council Citizen of the Year 2010
• Selected by Samsung to run with the Olympic Flame through Canberra during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.
• Nominations for Australian of the Year Award 2005-2012
• Nominee for Commonwealth Bank Local Hero Award 2008
• Semi-finalist for 2006 Regional Achievement and Community Awards sponsored by The Weekly Times and Prime Television
• Nominated for a prestigious Melbourne Award within the Individual Contribution to Community category for raising the international profile of Melbourne through the development of Neighbour Day.
A portrait of Andrew, by Sydney artist Bruce Remmer, was submitted as an entry in the 2010 Archibald Prize.