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Neighbourhood support online for Western bay

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Former Mount Maunganui Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Marie Gilpin wants people to get to know their neighbours. Photo / George Novak
Former Mount Maunganui Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Marie Gilpin wants people to get to know their neighbours. Photo / George Novak

Western Bay neighbourhoods are being urged to reconnect through a new website helping neighbours build stronger, safer communities.

Website "Neighbourly" lets neighbours get to know each other through a secure, address-verified network to swap goods, advertise events, offer services or help prevent crime.

Once signed up, neighbours can swap restaurant tips, recommend local gardeners or find their area's best babysitter.

The move has been praised by Western Bay neighbourhood support members, who say anything which brings neighbours together is positive.

Users can start interest subgroups such as fishing, or book clubs, or public or private street groups.

The site also offers an Urgent Alerts feature which allows a resident to send an urgent text message to neighbours in an emergency.

One Tauranga post asks for advice on how to maintain heatpumps. Another praises Papamoa's beautiful sand beaches, friendly locals and country village feel.

Tauranga City and Suburbs Neighbourhood Support chairwoman Lynn Morrison said the site could be useful for Tauranga.

"The more you can get neighbours talking to neighbours the better."

"[The site] could work out very well."

Retired Mount Maunganui neighbourhood support co-ordinator Marie Gilpin said neighbourhood support was very important. But though it was good to encourage neighbours to get to know each other through an online forum, older members of the community may not get as much use out of it because "a lot of our people are not online".

Mrs Gilpin said the most important thing was to know what was normal in your neighbourhood.

Papamoa neighbourhood support co-ordinator Lorraine Stevens said the site sounded like a "very good idea".

Neighbourly co-founder and managing director Casey Eden said the site was a tool for people wanting to make a difference in their community, but not sure where to start.

"We understand not everyone wants to walk the street with a clipboard or host community meetings and so Neighbourly is all about making this process simple and easy by allowing people to get the ball rolling from the comfort of their own house."

Mr Eden said he and co-founder Shane Bradley started the website out of concern they knew more about their overseas friends than their next-door neighbours.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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