Rotorua born woman receives British Citizens Award

Emma Rigby. Image: Supplied

A woman who was born and raised in Rotorua is the first ever New Zealander to receive the British Citizens Award at the Palace of Westminster in London on Thursday, July 4.

The award recognises exceptional endeavour and in respect to Emma, this is in response to her doing extraordinary things in the local community.

Emma, 41, who is a mother of two, moved to England in 2003 and subsequently set up home in Enfield, London. Enfield was hit by the London Riots of 2011 and off the back of this Emma sought to bring the local community back together.

The concept ‘Love Your Doorstep’ was created around her kitchen table and quickly established itself as the go to place to connect with local Enfieldians, find out what’s on or discuss local matters.

The Love Your Doorstep platform has gone from strength to strength over the last seven years winning the National FSB & World Pay Community Business of the Year Award in 2017, The Enfield Business of the Year Award through the FSB in 2014, and The Enfield Innovation Competition in 2013. 

The Enfield Community has now topped 25,000 members and the community has a website where local businesses can become part of the goods and services directory.

More than just a business directory, Love Your Doorstep has created a safe environment for local people. Daily, there are amazing acts of kindness on the group, sharing of information and friendships formed. In today’s busy world it’s a way to reconnect with your next door neighbours.

Emma is extremely committed to improving the local area and was the driving force behind setting up a Community Patrol Scheme that was a response to a wave of muggings and robberies on local secondary school children.

This group, which consists of local volunteers, patrol the streets, morning, lunchtime and afternoon to keep members of the public safe by being “eyes and ears” for the Police.

The scheme has been a huge success receiving national press coverage but that’s still not enough for Emma; she plans to push the scheme out to other areas of the borough with the hope to roll it out nationally.

Emma’s father, Neville Nicholson, who commutes between his properties in Rotorua and Welcome Bay, says he is very proud of his daughter.

“We are very proud of Emma’s achievements and it’s a pity she wasn’t at home achieving them back here, but we can’t seem to get her to move, she’s fallen in love with London and in particularly the suburb of Enfield.

“She’s done a spectacular job. My wife and I were up there during the London Riots, and it was at the end of Emma’s street.”

Neville says following the riots, people were in absolute shock.

“Emma said Dad, I’m going to do something about this, and get people to start talking to one and other.

“She came up with this idea of this company, Love Your Doorstep, and it’s done very well.

“It’s gone very well for the community.”

Neville says the New Zealand company, Neighbourly, was set up based on Emma’s idea.

Emma’s business has since expanded, and since many attacks around London, she came up with a community patrolling idea.

“She came up with a system, and now there are a whole lot of people walking around in hi vis vests, with walkie talkie radios that are in contact with police, and basically what they are doing is escorting the kids to and from the bus stops and the train stations, and around the main shopping centres of Enfield,” says Neville.

“Now they are wanting to roll it out nationwide because it is so successful.”

Neville says Love Your Doorstep has become much bigger than the original idea, and he is very pleased for Emma.

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