Neighbourhood Support Waitākere is all about creating safer, more resilient, connected communities. Set up in 2007, the organisation is part of the nationwide community-led Neighbourhood Support movement. And the fantastic community spirit of the West was never more apparent than in the aftermath of the recent Auckland floods. Neighbours helped neighbours and whole communities pulled together with practical help when it was most needed.
‘Good stuff happens when you know your neighbours,’ says Sharon Peters, Neighbourhood Support Waitākere coordinator. ‘When we have connected groups, communities fare better,’ she adds.
According to Sharon, Neighbourhood Support Waitākere’s focus is to create a well-connected and sustainable community network, improving the safety and wellbeing of all residents. The organisation works closely with key partners like NZ Police, FENZ, Auckland Council, Auckland Emergency Management and other community partners. Currently, the West Auckland network has about 8,000 members across all communities.
‘We have a unique point of difference as a key community-led agency,’ Sharon advises. She says that Neighbourhood Support Waitākere manages and maintains a database of members and social subscribers. ‘We communicate and educate members with tips and resources on improving household and neighbourhood safety, resilience and wellbeing,’ she reports.
According to Sharon, the neighbourhood support movement is about much more than crime prevention. It’s also a great way to get to know other residents in your street or local area. Furthermore, members receive helpful advice on improving their household and neighbourhood safety and are better equipped to cope with the next emergency.
‘Our networks are a valuable and respected community resource,’ declares Sharon. She advises that membership in Neighbourhood Support Waitākere strengthens communities, improves health and wellbeing, and reduces anti-social and criminal activities.
Like many other charitable organisations, the Waitākere branch depends on external funders, donations and fundraising initiatives. Sharon says that finances are an ongoing challenge. However, a successful application to the 2022 Your West Support Fund helped ease that burden.
Neighbourhood Support Waitākere used the $5,000 for ongoing operational expenses, including salaries and staff costs. Sharon advises that it's often difficult to get support with operating costs. Most funders prefer to help with projects or initiatives. The Your West Support funding arrived at the perfect time, just as the organisation was getting back on its feet after the extended Auckland lockdowns.
‘Thanks to the Your West Support Fund, we have been able to keep doing what we do. And West Auckland neighbourhoods continue to benefit from our vital work,’ Sharon comments.
Contact the Neighbourhood Support Waitākere team if you want to get involved and make a difference in your community.