Neighbour 2 Neighbour Report 2012

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Introduction

Neighbour 2 Neighbour (N2N) 2012 was carried out on Saturday 16th June. It was a collaborative project between The Townsville City Council, The Combined Churches, and local Service Organisations. In short, the Council identified homes that required assistance, and the Churches and Service Organisations offered up to 3hrs of work from teams of up to four volunteers. This year 125 homes were given assistance by 356 volunteers from 29 Churches and Service Organisations.

The behind the scenes organisation took about 3 months. During this period the Council identified homes in need and sent a letter from the Mayor offering assistance from the Neighbour 2 Neighbour program. Residents who responded to the Mayor’s letter were registered with N2N. At the same time, Churches and Service Organisations were approached to provide volunteers to carry out the work. Volunteers were grouped into teams of four. The leader of each team was trained and matched up with a home in need. Finally, all volunteers were given a safety briefing before they started work in their assigned homes.

Comments

In 2011 the Mayor’s letter was sent to over 3,000 homes. This overwhelmed the N2N call centre, and due to the volume of requests the call centre was closed after receiving 450 calls. This year a more selective data base was used to identify homes that might require assistance. This greatly eased the volume of requests for help and made the recruitment and training of volunteers much more manageable. In 2011 there were over 100 homes that were not helped on the day. It took a small group of dedicated volunteers another 4 months to attend to these homes. This year only a handful of homes were not helped on the day and these have been allocated to two Churches that were not able to provide volunteers on Sat 16th June but were eager to participate on another day.

There were also changes made to the way homes responded to the Mayor’s letter. In 2011 all homes requesting assistance were required to phone a call centre with only one incoming line. This year homes were given the choice of responding via the Council’s web page, posting the request back to N2N, or dropping it off at a Council Library. This new system gave the N2N organising committee time to assess the tasks, collate the data, and contact each person. Most people posted their request directly to N2N, 23 dropped it off at a Library and 12 used the Council’s web page.

  In 2011 volunteers were allocated into teams by the N2N organising committee. With over 400 volunteers this became an onerous task. This year each Church and Service Organisation appointed a Liaison Officer who was responsible for recruiting volunteers and organising teams with appointed Team Leaders. This was greatly aided by major changes to the N2N web page which allowed the Liaison Officers and Team Leaders to enter volunteer data and assign teams and homes, instead of exclusively the N2N leadership team.

In all, N2N 2012 ran much more efficiently than the previous event. This was the culmination of a number of improvements; a more refined data base of homes, an improved response system to home requests, and improved organisation of volunteer recruitment and assignment.

N2N Statistics at a glance.    

 

Churches/Organisations with large number of Volunteers

YWAM Youth Street – 95 volunteers

Rotary Sunrise – 40 volunteers

Willows Presbyterian – 38 volunteers

The Rock Christian Family – 26 volunteers

Hope Community Church – 23 volunteers

ATO Standley Place Staff – 15 volunteers

N2N Organising Committee

Ps Matthew Bolte (Project Leader)

Mr Daniel Kendall (Web page manager)

Ps David Frewen-Lord (Volunteer recruitment)

Ms Eileen Larson (Call centre manager)

Mrs Barbie Cheetham (Task manager)

Ms Sarah Bolte (Secretary to Project Leader)

Mrs Jean McCubben (Call Centre training)

Thank you to all those who helped make Neighbour 2 Neighbour a success, and a step towards a more generous, loving community.

Matthew Bolte

N2N Project Leader

for the Combined Churches of Townsville


Neighbour to Neighbour 2011 Report

Learning to “love your neighbour as yourself”

Background

We have all been amazed by the community support that has bubbled up after the floods and cyclones in this State. Many have commented on how “good it was to give and receive help from total strangers”, it seemed to “lift community spirits and restore peoples trust in humanity”.

The sad part of these comments is that it is obvious that we have lost something in our communities that only disasters bring out. What if caring for your neighbour wasn’t just a disaster response but an everyday practice. To this end the Combined Churches of Townsville & Community Organisations are working with the Townsville City Council to build community capital in fostering and modelling caring for our neighbours. We are working toward making neighbourliness an everyday practice in Townsville.

The first of many steps

Neighbour to Neighbour Day; Saturday 18th  June

Neighbour 2 Neighbour is about teams of volunteers from the Combined Churches of Townsville & Community Groups  going into homes that need a bit of help on Sat 18 June.

Just basic stuff like cleaning the bathroom, tiding the yard, mowing the lawn, vacuuming the carpets, or sitting and having a chat over a cuppa.

The Townsville City Council, through their community support data base, has connected us to homes that need this sort of help via a letter from the Mayor. Most are elderly and are deeply moved that the some one would come and help them. 

 

We were amazed by the overwhelming response to the letter offering help from the Combined Churches of Townsville. We have received requests for help from over 450 homes.  

Here are some of the statistics from the day,

One Day becomes Every Day

It is our clear intention that this not be seen as a once a year program but as a first step to build care of neighbours back into the ethos of this City. We may need to run this several times a year for several years to create a habit of helping your neighbour. This then becomes a grassroots network of care and support for those in need.

Feedback

From those helped

From the Townsville City Council

From the Volunteers

Australian Day Award 2012

The citation reads; “A spirit of Townsville award was awarded to The Combined Churches of Townsville who initiated the ‘Neighbour to Neighbour Townsville’ program in June 2011. The program was aimed to help residents in need with basic home repairs, maintenance and domestic assistance. With over 420 volunteers going to 360 homes doing everything from cleaning fans to pulling weeds, the Townsville Community thanks the Combined Churches for their support”.

For further information contact;

Matthew Bolte

N2N co-ordinator

for The Combined Churches of Townsville

Web; www.n2n.churchin.org.au 

M: 0437 559047

E: n2n@churchin.org.au