Want to get to know your neighbours – and your city – better?
Western Bay of Plenty Neighbourhood Support is keen to find more volunteer Area Coordinators, and help make the city more friendly, connected and safer. It has about 14,500 member families around the city, but needs more people to volunteer to take on Street and Area Coordinator roles, particularly in Tauranga South.
Neighbourhood Support works closely with Police and other organisations to build strong communities by reducing crime, improving safety and preparing to deal with emergencies and disasters. Volunteer Street Coordinators gather contact details for their street’s residents and keep in touch with neighbours. Area Coordinators help develop new street groups, recruiting Street Coordinators and assisting them with resources.
Dave Hodge is Area Coordinator for Ōtumoetai. A former police officer now in IT, he enjoys signing up new Street Coordinators – residents who keep lists of members in their own street.
“It’s an opportunity to meet new people and find out their backgrounds and how they interact with their communities. I also maintain communications with Street Coordinators and pass updates to the database administrator.
“It’s very fulfilling. Sometimes it takes a day a month, sometimes a few days a month. Depends
on demand, but it’s always something I find time for. I also volunteer for our fundraisers and community events.
“I’ve always had a drive to help people and give back to the community. Volunteering for NS was a great way to get involved. I get a sense of community involvement, meet new people and create friendships, contact with emergency services and other like-minded community people and organisations.”
Linda Thompson is Area Coordinator for Ōmanu, and has been a Neighbourhood Support member for several decades.
“Neighbourhood Support connects provides that sense of community that has eroded over time as people get busy with work. I’m also a Street Coordinator.” A semi-retired journalist, she enjoys finding new Street Coordinators and helping them connect with their neighbours. They can be from any background, working full time, retired, stay-at-home parents.
“I have Street Coordinators of all ages, from young mums to a lively woman in her 80s, who are enjoying meeting neighbours, often for the first time. Having brief street meetings with our Community Constable as groups set up is very rewarding, seeing neighbours get to know each other.”
Neighbourhood Support Chair Kathy Webb says becoming an Area Coordinator is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbourhood and to do something positive for your neighbours.
“You can be instrumental in helping them to achieve positive improvements in their lives. Linda helped one of her street groups to run a plant swap. I helped some neighbours set up their own group to improve their area by planting more natives and to understand about pest eradication.
“There are so many opportunities – shared gardens, joint garage sales, getting together for barbecues or coffee. One group hosted an afternoon tea and 58 people turned up!”
If you can spare a little time to get to know your neighbours and create a connected city by becoming an Area Coordinator, click below.