After 12 years, Neighbourhood Support Waimea is being dissolved. But it’s all not bad news. A new group, Neighbourhood Support Top of the South will be formed in its place, combining Nelson, Marlborough, and Waimea.

Nelson-Waimea Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator, Aniquah Stephenson, says that the new organisation will increase the groups effort in the community.

“Rather than these organisations being separate and duplicating work, we can have one person managing these three areas,” she says. Aniquah says that the move will enable co-ordinators and volunteers to have more time to be out in the community, rather than writing funding applications and filling out paperwork.

“It may seem like we are all merging, it’s more for efficiency and effectiveness with funding. We can work in a more co-ordinated way with emergency services and councils,” Aniquah says.

“We want people to know that we are in the process of change, and this change will be beneficial.”

Marty Price, who was the former Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator for Waimea and has been involved since the group’s foundation in 2012, says that he will be advocating to make sure that the Waimea community voice is still heard. “I’m really proud of what we have been able to achieve over the last 8 years.”

When Marty started in November 2012, there were 25 Community Support street groups. Now there are 180.
He says that Neighbourhood Support is ‘hugely important.’

“It’s about reconnecting our communities.” For a lot of people, lockdown was a good example of how some members of the community live in isolation constantly. “I’m extremely proud of the work that has been done over the 8 years. We’ve had our highs and lows, but it has been amazing.”

Despite the Waimea group being dissolved, Marty says that he will be pushing for a strong Waimea voice. “I’ve made the decision to stay involved because I have that commitment to Waimea. I’ve got that ingrained history.”

“I want to ensure that our voice as Waimea is still heard.”

Marty and fellow Waimea member Sam Kearny are both applying for positions on the new board for the Neighbourhood Support Top of the South.

“We need a few local voices.”

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