New role connects good neighbours

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz


The first co-ordinator has been appointed for the Neighbourhood Support network in Carterton.

Sue Tennent, a former manager of Carterton Postshop, was last week introduced to a full meeting of the Carterton District Council, which earlier this year granted $7000 to the scheme.

Ms Tennent, who shifted to the town from Masterton four years ago, outlined her plans to councillors to lift the profile of the new organisation and engage a greater number of the 2200 households in the town.

Ms Tennent said Neighbourhood Support groups may be formed among both rural and urban residents, who set their own ground rules and areas of care and concern.

"The idea of Neighbourhood Support has been very well-regarded in Carterton and I believe it sits well with the philosophy behind a village.

"I consider myself privileged to have been appointed co-ordinator and as a new resident it's a wonderful way to meet people and become involved with the community."

Sandy Ryan, Masterton Safe and Healthy Community Council (MSHCC) manager, said Ms Tennent had an extensive background in tertiary education and was well-versed in community development and starting new programmes.

Mrs Ryan said funding of $10,000 was provided by Neighbourhood Support NZ for the Carterton group and there were plans to establish a network of similar groups in towns throughout the region.

She said Carterton District councillors had been supportive since the idea was pitched to them last year and approval was given by all three Wairarapa mayors for a region-wide network.

"The mayors are keen to see Neighbourhood Support right through Wairarapa but it has to be done progressively - we have to see that it works first then move on from there."

Mrs Ryan said about 100 families had already signed up to the support group, mainly in rural Carterton.

The aim of a neighbourhood support group is "to help make the homes, streets, neighbourhoods and communities safer and more caring places for members of the network".

The group encourages neighbours to talk to each other and fosters a sense of community.

The needs of a neighbourhood are identified and members take responsibility for their own safety and work to reduce burglaries, graffiti and vandalism and report all types of violence, including family violence.

A network also works to enhance the safety features and appearance of the neighbourhood and liaises with other community groups, including police, Civil Defence and other emergency agencies.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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