Neighbourhood Support aims to reduce crime and isolation through fostering connections between neighbours.
It also helps to distribute information from police to help neighbours work together to keep their properties safe. It is all about you and your neighbours looking out for each other. This might include keeping a mailbox clear when someone is away, taking notice of strangers in the neighbourhood or talking with each other about suspicious behaviour on your street.
If there was an individual emergency (either your own or your neighbours) it is important to call 111 but you may also need to call on a neighbour for urgent help. For example, if you experience noises at night, a slip or a fall, or even a burst pipe.
By knowing your neighbours, if there is a local or national emergency, you’ll know who is vulnerable, such as the elderly or people with limited mobility. You’ll also know who can help with much needed resources such as a generator, first aid kit, or a solar powered radio.
For newcomers or those living alone, Neighbourhood Support can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. It helps develop a sense of safety and friendliness, where everyone is respected and valued.
Creating a safer, connected neighbourhood is a team effort
With the help of the Neighbourhood Support coordinator, contact information is collected from interested neighbours and a main point of contact for the street is appointed. A list of names and contact details is then given to each member of the group. The street contact welcomes new people to the street and adds them to the group, if they want to join, and updates the list as required.
Neighbourhood Support groups are encouraged to have a get together once a year by hosting a potluck BBQ or an event such as Neighbours Day, for example.
Seven great ways to connect with your neighbour
1 Reach out – talk to your neighbours, express an interest in something they are doing such as their garden.
2 Get involved – start a Neighbourhood Support group if there isn’t one established for your street. Assist your neighbours when needed, such as offering to help an elderly resident put their recycling bins out.
3 Make a connection with your neighbours – get to know them, discuss emergency preparedness with them.
4 Be considerate of others – respect and nurture your environment, initiate a street clean-up, look out for your neighbours.
5 Be generous – share produce from your over-abundant garden, encourage neighbours to share skills and resources.
6 Bring neighbours together – get involved with Neighbours Day Aotearoa, organise a potluck barbecue for the street.
7 Volunteer in your local neighbourhood – join your local Neighbourhood Support group and make a difference in your community. If there isn’t one, start one up by contacting Ashburton District Neighbourhood Support.
If you don’t already know your neighbour, start today and say “Gidday!”