Bringing WBOP communities together

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Western Bay of Plenty Neighbourhood Support is working with community leaders and its street coordinators to build more resilient communities in the region.

It held a Zoom conference this week with representatives from Police, Fire Service, Age Concern, Rise Up Tauranga, disability representatives, council staff and street coordinators to find out what it could do to build resilience and safer communities.

Chair Kathy Webb says the organisation has moved from a crime “watchdog” to a more community-focused network.

It works in partnership with Police, Fire Service and other emergency responders, wants to maximise these relationships to add value and expand its network.

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand Chief Executive Tess Casey says what makes the organisation tick is “connectedness”.

“People who knew each other were more likely to offer and accept help when it was needed.

“Groups throughout the country are thinking about how they want to work together, from just getting to know each other to tackling a street project, and finding out who might need help or was isolated.”

Tauranga City Council safety and resilience advisor Paul Mason says the Vital Update survey by the council drilled into neighbourhoods and covered social isolation, what people wanted more of and safety and child welfare and covered the broadest spectrum of the community.

Smaller groups at the Zoom conference discussed ideas for improving their neighbourhoods.

Suggestions include working more closely with other community groups such as community centres, having a skills register to know who had a chainsaw or could help with tasks, building on their street’s strengths.

Other suggestions include more community barbecues, get-togethers for fire safety or police sessions, getting younger people involved as street coordinators to draw in young families and setting up kai swap pantries for produce.

Neighbourhood Support will collate all the ideas and distribute them through their newsletters and social media.

It is also planning more Zoom meetings to exchange ideas.



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