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Bid to extend support network

Timaru Herald
5 October 2011

A Waimate district councillor wants the Neighbourhood Support network extended to include "the whole town".

Cr Matt Henderson, who belongs to a Neighbourhood Support street committee, said he was really impressed with the work the organisation did, but felt there were too many parts of the town which were not covered.

"At the present stage, there are only pockets of the town that are covered, and they're mainly confined to cul-de-sacs," he said. "We should have a Neighbourhood Support which covers all of the town."

Neighbourhood Support works closely with the police and many other organisations to reduce crime, improve safety and prepare to deal with emergencies and natural disasters.

There are branches all over the country, but South Canterbury co-ordinator Denise Langrish said there had not been much of a focus on Waimate.

"It's a really vital service. People can't expect the cavalry to save you in times of need, everyone has to work together," she said.

"We saw how important it was during the Christchurch earthquakes. People don't know their neighbours like they did in the old days, and the groups act as a point of contact and support in time of need."

Mr Henderson said he would talk with the Waimate Resource Centre to try and encourage more promotion of the organisation.

"It's a way to help people feel safe and know where things are," he said. Ms Langrish said she would be making regular visits to Waimate to help build a network.

"If you've got good street contacts, you can achieve a lot. There would be a number of people who may have moved to Waimate after the Christchurch quakes who might need a hand or support.

"Working together, the Neighbourhood Support committees have addressed issues in South Canterbury such as crime, gang-related problems and even disputes among neighbours."

Waimate residents who want more information should contact the local police station, or visit the Waimate Resource Centre.


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