It has been a frenetic but positive start to 2012 for ACT Neighbourhood Watch. The Board of Management continues to address the stream of priorities that flowed out of the strategic plan forum held in October 2011. Alongside the steady squaring away of logistical and management issues, there seems to be a high energy amongst the network of volunteers for the pursuit of increasing social cohesion and for the establishment of multiplied community connection points.
This is directly proportional to the Board’s consistent promotion of the idea that we are not the unique community organization concerned with fostering vibrant, safe, caring neighbourhoods but simply one of them. We need to play our part alongside many allies and avoid as much as possible the re-invention of wheels as we hopefully move the arrow in one forward direction.
At a recent gathering, ACT NHW President Mrs Margaret Pearson said “I’ve been representing Neighbourhood Watch at a Canberra wide interagency focused on producing healthier neighbourhoods and I’m staggered by the number of organizations that exist which are doing similar things and in some cases goals and plans seem to overlap. My hope would be that Neighbourhood Watch could find a place in the midst of all of this as a catalyst for groups doing and achieving more together.”
Collaborations between local neighbourhood watch groups and a variety of other existing organizations and or community events have started to emerge all over the Territory. Three or four areas registered to help facilitate ‘Clean Up Australia’ work zones. Others are teaming up with the ‘Heart Foundation’ and fortifying efforts being made to initiate community troops that walk around suburbs primarily for the sake of heart health but also to achieve a bunch of mutually beneficial secondary objectives. Even others have engaged their local schools or shopping villages, providing volunteer labour and other much needed resources.
In this coming month alone, ACT Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are offering tens of extra hours of effort to ensure the success of a number of community wide initiatives. These include helping fund raise towards an increase in affordable housing to assist those struggling in the current economic climate; helping a partnership of government and non-government agencies achieve a strong public response to a healthy neighbourhoods expo; supporting ACT Policing as they celebrate the opening of a new state of the art police station and partnering with community service providers from across the whole of the ACT marking the 10th national Neighbour Day. As an adjunct to this, ACT NHW receives nominations from the general public and the 2nd annual gong for a special person or persons who have been recognised by someone as a ‘good neighbour’ will be presented on the day.
Collective wisdom is one of the key outcomes from effective collaboration but it’s not just about doing events together or having more talk fests. It’s about building genuine relationships from the ground up; relationships of trust founded upon selfless service and the passionate pursuit of a common objective. Our aims are met as others’ aims are met. The volunteers of ACT Neighbourhood Watch are convinced they can be a conduit for that sort of community enhancing journey.
ACT NHW Media & Marketing
Source: NHWA Autumn 2012 Journal article written by Graeme Hush