Back­yard Ban­ter

There’s al­ways room for more projects to im­prove your neigh­bour­hood.

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

The ar­rival of a new year of­ten equals lists of res­o­lu­tions, goals and dreams for the next 12 months. But with a lit­tle creative think­ing, 2017 could her­ald a new be­gin­ning for your neigh­bour­hood too.

Com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and causes are the foun­da­tion of lo­cal New Zealand. Who runs your vol­un­teer fire bri­gade? What about your op shop? Your pri­mary school’s walk­ing bus? That nifty book ex­change that popped up overnight in the park just down the road? Wher­ever you look, chances are there’s a com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion or project that needs a bit of neigh­bourly sup­port.

And there’s al­ways room for more. This year, think about bring­ing to­gether neigh­bour­hood-con­scious vol­un­teers to trans­form your neigh­bour­hood one project at a time.

Com­mu­nity green fin­gers: Gather to­gether some like-minded gar­den­ers and es­tab­lish a com­mu­nity gar­den where lo­cals can get their hands dirty along­side each other in ex­change for free and fresh pro­duce. Hold classes for wannabe gar­den­ers and teach kids about the real ori­gins of their din­ners, then do­nate any left­over fresh pro­duce to your lo­cal food bank.

Save our swim­ming pools: Wa­ter Safety New Zealand says 156 schools have closed their swim­ming pools in the last five years while an­other 135 are a whis­per away from clos­ing, be­cause they can’t af­ford the up­keep. But swim­ming is a ba­sic skill that ev­ery Kiwi kid should have. Start fundrais­ing to ei­ther con­struct a pool at your lo­cal school, or en­sure that an ex­ist­ing pool won’t be at risk of per­ma­nently emp­ty­ing.

Trans­form your neigh­bour­hood: If the fu­ture of your chil­dren is im­por­tant, or­gan­ise a pub­lic meet­ing to dis­cuss what you can all do to erad­i­cate crime and vi­o­lence from your com­mu­nity. In­vite teach­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers, busi­ness own­ers, doc­tors and kau­matua along to con­trib­ute from their unique point of view.

Grow up and grow old: Es­tab­lish an Adopt a Grand­par­ent pro­gramme be­tween your lo­cal rest home and kinder­garten or pri­mary school to help min­imise the sense of lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion that can come with age, while in­still­ing great val­ues in your chil­dren. En­cour­age weekly en­gage­ment .

Get fit and have fun: Launch a healthy life­style pro­gramme for all ages to teach healthy habits around food and ex­er­cise. Get your lo­cal gyms, doc­tors and schools in­volved, and add a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion to it by ask­ing lo­cal busi­nesses to do­nate great prizes to 12-week chal­lenges.

Of course, ev­ery com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion or project could do with a lit­tle ex­tra help. AMI and Neigh­bourly are team­ing up to give away a whop­ping $20,000 to sup­port wor­thy com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and ini­tia­tives right around New Zealand.

If you know of a project or or­gan­i­sa­tion in your com­mu­nity that could ben­e­fit from a lit­tle help­ing hand visit neigh­bourly.co.nz/am­i­com­mu­ni­ty­grants to find out more.

DEREK FLYNN/FAIR­FAX NZ

AMI and Neigh­bourly are team­ing up to sup­port wor­thy com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and ini­tia­tives right around New Zealand.

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