Building Communities

Building Communities: One Handshake at a Time

Great places don’t just happen. They exist because people build relationships with each other, communicate with each and build networks. They are places where people feel safe and trust others.

Sometimes it feels so hard but the best thing to do is just to make a start.

Building Communities: One Handshake at a Time is the place to look for information and ideas to help make great places for everyone.

What is involved in One Handshake at a Time?

One Handshake at a Time is a place to look for ways and ideas to make the Shoalhaven a better place.

What are some components of One Handshake at a Time?

One Handshake at a Time Toolkit

The toolkit provides ideas for things that individuals or people can do in their own neighbourhoods to build friendships, trust, networks. It aims to help people connect with each other. Getting to know your neighbours is a good way to make your community safer, healthier and a better place to live.

One Handshake at a Time Toolkit

Keys in the Streets!

Does your Community need a public piano?!  With a little time (7 weeks) you, too, can have a beautiful Piano in your neighbourhood. We will provide a piano and paints as well as a little guidance along the way.  You will provide at least 3 people that will commit to the program, an area to house the piano while it’s being fixed up and computer access.  Step up and be part of this amazing Community building exercise.  Build your Community, One Key at a Time. 

Little Free Library

Little Free Library book exchanges gives everyone an opportunity to share their favourite books with their community. They are a way to share good things to read.

It’s a simple concept take a book to read. Either bring it back or replace it with another. Perhaps even leave a slip of paper in the book saying what you found interesting about the book.

Donate a book or two to the Free Little Library.

Free Little Libraries belong to everyone. Anyone can use it.

Shoalhaven City Council has installed the First Free Little Library in the Thoroughfare. Next door to the Shoalhaven Regional Art Gallery in Berry Street Nowra.

But you can also start your own free little library and build your community one book at a time. We can help with advice and ideas to get you started.

Contact the Community Development team to donate books or to build your own Community library: 44293456.

Neighbour Day

Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, bringing together the people next door, across the street or on the next farm for a beer, a barbie or just a cuppa.

Held on the last Sunday in March every year, it’s the perfect day to say thanks for being a great neighbour and for being there when I needed you most.

The actual meaning of Neighbour Day is so much more …

Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can and does change communities. Social connection also makes us feel better as it helps prevent loneliness, isolation and depression.

Neighbour Day brings together like-minded people, resources, and organisations to grow stronger, well connected communities.

Shoalhaven City Council encourages residents to be part of Neighbour Day. Further information is available from


Throughout the year Council sponsors and facilitates a range of guest speakers in the "In Conversation" series of workshops. These workshops provide access to informative, motivational and challenging speakers who will inspire those attending to the possibilities and power of strong, inclusive and connected community.

Good News Stories

This is a media campaign where Council will focus on good news stories, on information about how to make great places, the good things about an area, encouraging people to work together.

Community Pride

There are three Community Pride groups operating in the Shoalhaven at Bomaderry, East Nowra and Sanctuary Point. These groups work to build on the assets of an area, to point to the good things and work to build pride. If you are interested in more information about these groups or you are interested in a group in your area please contact the Community Development team on 44293456.

Community Safety

Community Grants

Council’s Community Grants program can enable organisations and groups (formal or informal) to complete projects (in line with the Shoalhaven Community Strategic Plan).

Community funding

Being Safe

There are a number of actions people can do to be safe. This includes locking doors and windows, being aware of surroundings, reporting incidents to the police etc.

Community Development staff, and other Council officers, have been trained in Safer by Design or Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. Staff can provide basic and simple safety audits as requested.

Community Safety

Council Projects

Council already provides support for a number of activities and projects that build great places. Building Community: One Handshake at a Time encourages additional projects. However, these projects will only be pursued if there is support from individuals and groups in the community.

Contact details

Community Development contact details:

Phone 0244293456


Meetings & Agendas

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Agendas & Minutes

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