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Support service fills technology gap

Allied Press

Here we go again... Glenda Chapman, of Alexandra, fills bottles from a water tanker after discovering the town was on a boil water notice, as of Friday afternoon. Neighbourhood Support is door-knocking where possible to make sure people who are not avid users of technology get the messages. Photo: Alexia Johnston

Neighbourhood Support is the eyes and ears of the community, filling a void technology has failed to cover in recent weeks.

Alexandra’s boil water notice is just one example of how valuable the Neighbourhood Support service has been, ensuring residents were aware of the warning, particularly those who were not regular followers of social media or did not often check emails.

Alexandra Clyde Neighbourhood Support chairwoman Ruth McNamara said in some cases people did not have cellphones to receive council notifications, particularly the older generation, and therefore messages such as boil water notices were not reaching the entire community.

“We have to have several different ways of notifying people.”

That was where the group’s street contact concept had helped.

Contacts compile a list of people who reside in the street, along with their contact details.

“There’s no one way we’ll get the message out to everyone so we’ve got to have our street contact so they can use the different methods,” Mrs McNamara said.

“You’ve got to ring people or walk down to them and knock on their door.”

She said ideally each street would have a contact on it, but that was proving to be the “biggest challenge” for Neighbourhood Support.

“We’ve got 63 street contacts, so we need a lot more.”

One of those contacts is Leeanne Jenkins, who looks after Russell St, Alexandra.

Using her database, she was able to inform residents about a property that had been broken into recently.

A man who lives at the address returned home to find several items missing, including a computer, Mrs Jenkins said.

anything was wrong because the door was locked when he got home.

On closer inspection, he realised the door had been “jimmied” open, but the perpetrator had locked it behind them, she said.

She informed the street’s residents and urged them to be vigilant.

Senior Sergeant Clint Wright, of Alexandra Police, confirmed police were investigating the matter.

He said it appeared to be an isolated incident, but urged residents throughout the district to be mindful.

“If you witness an incident of this nature happening, we urge you to call 111, and anyone with information that may assist after an incident has happened should call 105.”

Mrs McNamara also encourages people to contact Neighbourhood Support if they want to become a street contact.

For more information about the service phone Ruth on 448-7619 or email

The boil notice was lifted on Thursday.

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