Safety through connection is scheme’s aim

SHARE
Connecting people... Gore residents Heather Hetaraka and Jo Michaels attend the Neighbourhood Support programme launch in Gore last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

It is important people know who their neighbours are, Joy Davis says.

The Otago Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator spoke at the Gore launch of the programme last week at the Calvin Community Church.

About 30 community members attended the event.

The aim of the programme is to grow safe, resilient, connected communities.

At a time when many people felt isolated, knowing who their neighbours were could be helpful, Ms Davis said.

“If you are connected you’re safer.”

It was really important people realised they would not have to pay anything to be part of the programme, she said.

“The only thing it is going to cost you is your time,” Ms Davis said.

There was plenty of funding available through organisations including the police, she said.

Other speakers at the launch included Neighbourhood Support national board member Lois Scott, of Dunedin, and Gore deputy mayor Bronwyn Reid.

Ms Scott said the community was in charge of how the programme ran.

“You own it.

“Adapt it to suit this community.

“It’s as simple or as glamorous as you want to make it.”

If the community decided it wanted to hire a co-ordinator for the programme, she was happy to help find funding, she said.

Gore deputy mayor Bronwyn Reid said floods, crime, fires and pandemics were some of the challenges community members needed to deal with.

“Preparation and the ability to deal with these types of events is how Neighbourhood Support will enable us to become more resilient in these times of need.

“Resilience begins by ensuring community connections are in place and help is provided for a wide group of people including the elderly who are often disconnected in the community.”

Often a neighbour was the first port of call when someone was in need.

“In today’s world with technology at our fingertips we tend to assume that we are connected but social media does not necessarily mean connected or known to those living in our immediate vicinities.”

Calvin Community Church minister Ken Williams also spoke about how the church functioned as a hub during February’s flooding.

Hokonui Radio host Luke Howden gave a video presentation about his experience during the flooding.

CNT neighbourhood support co-ordinator Kelly Young said she was pleased with how the evening went.

“It is a great start to getting the community talking about [Neighbourhood Support] and the benefit that will come from collectively supporting each other in neighbourhoods or streets around Gore and Mataura.

Anyone who was not able to attend the launch and is interested in finding out more can contact Mrs Young at kelly.young@cnt.org or on 27345-3503.