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Know Your Neighbour initiative launched

Oct 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Uncategorized

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STREET PARTY: The Vasanta Ave neighbourhood in Ngaio, Wellington. IMG: Chris Skelton (Dominion Post)

A NEW neighbour-friendly initiative may simply be adding to an old idea.

Wellington City Council wants neighbours to get to know one another so they can help each other out in case of emergencies.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and councillor Stephanie Cook launched the Know Your Neighbour initiative last night at Wellington Town Hall, with the hope it will help build stronger communities.

“Being on first name terms [with your neighbours] and also being aware of their strengths and vulnerabilities can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation,” says Ms Cook.

However, Neighbourhood Support New Zealand national manager Roger Eynon says the initiative is nothing new; it merely compliments what is already happening.

He says Neighbourhood Support already exists in Wellington, the already successful Neighbours’ Day Aotearoa will happen again next March, and council already has community engagement teams.

“I would like to see a strong focus on putting this effort behind Neighbourhood Support because it is already there, rather than introduce other similar projects.”

He does say that this is a good opportunity for Wellingtonians to take advantage of the pool of funds available.

The initiative will see that grants from a $100,000 pool are given to assist groups who wish to organise projects or events for everyone in their area, street, block of flats or cul-de-sac.

Ms Cook says the projects could include anything from a community fair, art project or a community garden, as long as they are inclusive, support community spirit and contribute to the neighbourhood’s preparation for emergencies.

Ms Wade-Brown says the importance of knowing your neighbour cannot be overlooked.

“The people who live closest to you are the ones who can help first. You’ll never know when you might need their assistance, or when they’ll need yours.”

Applications for grants from the Community Preparedness Grants pool will be open for two rounds of funding, with deadlines at the end of this month and March next year.

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