Making the village feel secure and connected

Posted by Dino Biordi
Like the TV theme song says, everybody needs good neighbours, and the recent lockdowns
have made that abundantly clear. A strata community is a bit like one of those TV streets,
except everybody is closer together. We’ve been seeing the upsides of this very clearly in
recent months as we find new ways to connect with each other that are safe and stay within
the public health orders.

Our building managers might be keeping a low profile because the orders mean we have to
work behind closed doors in the office, but they are still doing everything they can to
support the sense of human connection that is so vital to everyone’s wellbeing.

We have been hearing some beautiful stories from them about the next level kindness many
people are showing each other. For example, in so many strata buildings, there have been
people volunteering to go and do food shopping and chemist runs for people who need to
self-isolate or who for some other reason cannot go to the shops themselves.

We would like to say a massive, public thank you to all those people who are being such
amazing neighbours. This is what makes a community great.

Our building managers have been assisting too by helping people safely connect with each
other. They pass on messages, and generally overcome some of the challenges people might
have connecting the dots in their building, especially if they only moved in since COVID
started and it became a little more challenging getting to know the neighbours.

Being the architects of your experience in the common areas of the building is a serious
responsibility in these current times. By making the property safe and ensuring everyone
who enters the common property wears a mask in common areas and scans in with a QR
code, it opens up more possibilities for connecting within the community.

For example, we have noticed in some buildings people have a found a safe way to share
food, by leaving a notice in the lift that they are cooking up a massive pot of soup and giving
a contact number so other residents can get in touch and the cook can drop them off a
serving in a contactless way outside their apartment front door. There is something so
special about that, it dissolves the sense of isolation and separation. It means we are not so
much ‘social distancing’ as ‘maintaining a safe space’. Knowing the lift and the corridors and
lobbies are being scrupulously cleaned and maintained makes all of this more possible for

Books are right up there with Netflix right now, and we have heard of buildings where
people have established a book swap in the lobby. While the bookshops and libraries are
shut being able to browse a shelf of books and pick out a new one to read can make
someone’s day – and they can do it safely, because LUNA’s building managers make sure all
the books have been wiped down and made hygienic first. There is a lot of that discreet
behind-the-scenes cleaning and sanitising going on!

We believe that when someone walks into their building, the lobby should smell clean. It
should have the same kind of tranquil, welcoming feeling as walking into a day spa. This is
your sanctuary, after all, in the midst of all the uncertainty and difficulty. LUNA is blessed to
have cleaners on staff who are all abiding by the strictest protocols – regular covid testing
and embracing our policy that all staff must roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated. That
protects them, and it protects the people in their strata neighbourhood when they do to
work there.

By ensuring all common spaces are being more frequently cleaned and putting COVID-safe
plans and protocols in place for every building, people can feel more at ease. It means that
when people return from venturing out for essentials or exercise, the moment they step
over the threshold into the foyer they feel a lifting of the fear. They are at home.

It’s a little bit like the strata community becomes a protected village, and the sense of
belonging begins the moment you step from footpath to front entrance. You can almost feel
that sigh of relief, “I’m home, I’m safe here,” as you step into the building.

The feeling of wellbeing that comes with being somewhere that is welcoming and where
you feel connected with the people around you is essential for mental health. Humans are
social creatures. We are not built to live locked behind our individual front doors 24/7.
Whatever we can do to facilitate that sense of being connected, we will do. This is the heart
of the LUNA way – putting people and their needs at the centre of everything.