Neighbourhood Support makes critical connections during Covid

The nationwide community-led Neighbourhood Support movement is all about creating safe, resilient, and connected communities. And in West Auckland, that mission took on a new meaning during Covid-19. With its wide community reach, Neighbourhood Support Waitākere provided an essential link with isolated vulnerable and elderly residents facing lockdown.

Set up in 2007, Neighbourhood Support Waitākere has a long history of bringing communities together to improve safety. Working together not only makes our neighbourhoods safer, it also makes them great places to live.

When the lockdown was first announced in March 2020, most of us were worried and frightened. However, for elderly and vulnerable residents living alone, the shock was even greater. Neighbourhood Support Waitākere immediately sprang into action and began phoning its large database of elderly and vulnerable members.

‘Lockdown was a new concept back then,’ explains administrator Louise Grevel. ‘Many of us didn’t know what Alert Level 4 meant and what was and wasn’t allowed.’

Neighbourhood Support Waitākere connected with members to provide much-needed reassurance and offers of help. The organisation has great relationships with many social services and community agencies. Besides regularly checking in with people, Louise and her colleague Sharon were also able to put members in touch with sources of help.

Louise remembers one lady in particular. She was the sole carer for her disabled adult son. Just before lockdown started, she suffered an injury that left her housebound. Worried about how she was going to get her shopping done, Louise was able to refer her to a local food delivery service.

This is just one example of countless others where Neighbourhood Support Waitākere provided an invaluable lifeline to members in need.

And like many other charitable organisations, the Waitākere branch depends on external funders, donations and fundraising initiatives. The economic uncertainty generated by Covid has had a big impact on Neighbourhood Support’s finances.

The $500,000 Your West Support Fund was set up by The Trusts to help community organisations with short-term funding during the crisis. Neighbourhood Support Waitākere has used its $5,380 to support operating costs.

‘The help from the Your West Support Fund came just at the right time,’ explains Louise. ‘When funding was so uncertain, it gave us great confidence.’

She continues, ‘We are very grateful for the support of The Trusts, which helped ensure we could keep going when our network needed us the most.’

Neighbourhood Support Waitākere is one of over 100 local groups to benefit from the Your West Support Fund. The full list of recipients is available here.