Ten years ago the Central Taranaki Safe Community Trust held its first meeting at the Stratford District Council chambers.

The meeting, and the decision to form the trust came about after a successful home safety project organised by a range of groups, including Stratford District Council, the fire service and police, ACC, Peak Health, Work and Income, Housing NZ (Taranaki), Taranaki District Health Board, Taranaki Electrical Trust, and Central Taranaki Victim Support Group.

The home safety project was focused on installing smoke alarms in Stratford homes free of charge. In total, 11,960 smoke alarms were installed in 2607 homes.

The project was successful, and the groups involved wanted to do more for the community and the decision was made to form a trust focused on community and home safety.


Over the next few years a range of home safety devices were given out to residents in the district, from bath safety mats for toddlers to stepladders and stools to help the elderly reach for things.

Hannah Shepherd, community project officer for the trust, says these items were handed out following home visits organised by the trust to discuss safety in the home with residents.

The trust also organised community patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, with volunteers acting as eyes and ears for the police, helping to prevent crime and build a safer neighbourhood.

Now, 10 years on, the trust has 23 community patrollers with patrols running night and day, not just on weekends, says Di Gleeson, community safety officer for the trust.

In addition, they provide support to Neighbourhood Support groups (formally known as Neighbourhood Watch), have run free swimming lessons for children, organised guest speakers for the community on a range of topics including mental health, and visited primary schools around the Central Taranaki region talking about bullying.

Hannah says other successful projects have included April Falls.

"This was a project focused on reducing the amount of falls happening in homes, whereby we arranged a substantial discount on items such as stools, handrails, baby gates, security lights for outdoors steps and even a chemical degreaser to reduce slippery surfaces outside."

The group aren't planning to rest on their laurels after 10 years, says Di.

"We have several new projects on the go, and encourage people to check out our website to keep informed and find out how we can help them stay safe in their neighbourhood and home."

■ Stay up to date on all the trust does by "liking" them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ctsafect.