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Palmerston North Junior Neighbourhood Support

Palmerston North
9 September 2009

In 2007 Palmerston North Neighbourhood Support commenced a Programme which had been introduced successfully in Waitakere and Wairoa and had also been introduced overseas to reward positive initiatives, attitudes and behaviours in years 4-6 primary school children.

This culminated recently in the Palmerston North Junior Neighbourhood Support Programme winning the Educational and Child Youth Development Category of the Palmerston North TrustPower Community Awards.

The Programme is supported logistically by, Neighbourhood Support, Police, Civil Defence, Fire Service and this year, St John. The initiative is aiming at promoting safety awareness at home, school and in the Community.

The Junior Neighbourhood Support project commences each year with the four service organisations taking their vehicles to the schools in the Programme and introducing the children to how each of them work in making our Community safer places to live, work and play. Then throughout the school year, teachers build into the normal curriculum, aspects of safety. The children compile dossiers of how they have learnt to adopt behaviours such as having an escape plan at home in case of fire, reporting bullying behaviour, reporting instances of graffiti, helping elderly people, knowing what to do when natural disasters strike and many other similar attributes.

Police are extremely supportive of the Programme as they see youngsters taking on some of the values that used to make Communities strong and safe and believe that long term will have beneficial effects as these children take their place as adults in our City.

At the end of the second and third terms, special assemblies are held so that awards of gift vouchers and certificates are made to those children who in the opinion of their teachers have made the most significant contribution to the different aspects of the Programme. At the end of the year overall winners are selected by the teachers and these children are taken on a Big Day Out. This comprised in 2008, two children from each school being picked up by Police Officers on Harley Davison motorcycles, taken to the airport for a helicopter ride, then taken to have morning tea with the Mayor, then taken for an abseiling experience with Civil Defence personnel followed by lunch at Breakers Café and the day finished off with a swim at the Lido complex.

The Programme was funded in its early stages by a grant from the Palmerston North City Council Local Initiative Fund and since then has been supported financially by Palmerston North City Rotary Clubs, the Safety Advisory Board, Linton Army Camp Community Board and various local trusts.

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