Know Your Neighbour - One Day You'll Need Them

3 October 2011

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Stephanie Cook will launch a new Wellington City Council grant initiative to encourage community preparedness at the Town Hall tomorrow evening.

The Community Preparedness Grants pool is worth $100,000, and was agreed in the Annual Plan process in June 2011.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the whole idea behind it is to build stronger communities and encourage neighbours to get to know each other, because in times of emergencies they're likely to be the ones who can help first.

"The people who live closest to you are the ones who can help first. You'll never know when you might need their assistance, or when they'll need yours," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

"Get to know who might be particularly vulnerable in a time of emergency, find out who has accessibility needs, and see if any medical staff live on your street. Knowing this information is crucial in times of need for you and your neighbours."

Social Portfolio Leader Councillor Stephanie Cook says the scheme helps build resilient communities.

"We've learnt a lot from Christchurch over the last year, and what we've found is that neighbourly contact and help has proved invaluable for people living there

"Just knowing the people that live three doors down from you can be a great help in times of emergency. Whether you're going to help them, or seeking help, being on first name terms and also being aware of their strengths and vulnerabilities can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation.

"The kind of activities that bring people together of all ages and interests could include a community fair, community art project or a community garden, and these grants can assist with projects like this." says Cr Cook.

Projects must be for a particular street or block of flats, a cul-de-sac or a few streets, and it must be open to everyone in that area. All projects must somehow promote community resilience and contribute to the neighbourhood's preparations for an emergency.

There's $100,000 available this year for this grants pool. There are two rounds a year - one ending at the end of this month, and the other at the end of March 2012. To be eligible for a grant, applicants need to be linked to a recognised group ­- for example an incorporated society or a charitable trust. Applicants that don't know any in their area should phone the City Council on (04) 499 4444 for guidance.