Sue’s new helping role


Encouraging youth involvement, expanding rural connections and building on existing works are some of the goals of new Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Sue Abel.

Drawn to the challenges offered in the co-ordinator role, Sue has been settling in over the past month and relocating to offices within the Ashburton Police station.

Sue has also been getting up to speed with the work done by former co-ordinator Christine Richards, who stepped down in August, and the set up of Ashburton Gets Ready. The programme, set up with Civil Defence, is a database to allow regional warnings to be sent through emergency mobile alerts. It has been joined by people at 4931 addresses in the Ashburton District. It’s part of a co-ordinated community response that can be used when hazardous events such as fire, flood or earthquake happens.

Neighbourhood Support was also part of the Ashburton Civil Defence Local Welfare Committee which provides welfare assistance during an emergency event so Sue has spent time learning the ins and outs of how the organisation works with Civil Defence. She has gained valuable insight from Civil Defence manager James Lamb and from training with those in similar roles in Rolleston.

Sue was drawn to the challenges offered in the co-ordinator role.

It was an established role with great potential but it could still be developed further, she said.

On the horizon was more engagement with youth and further reach with outlying areas of the district to make it better connected to the community, she said.

Neighbourhood Support relied on community support, which in turn helped community wellbeing as it brought people together to create safe and resilient environments. There were also plans to partner with Police to reduce crime as a way to support the community.

Sue has worked in a variety of support roles in the community in the past including as Plunket car seat rental co-ordinator at Plunket and worked front of house at Idea Services.

She also spent many years working behind the scenes for her husband Leigh’s plastering business.

Now their adult children had flown the coop she was looking forward to getting better familiarised with the community through her new role.

People wanting information can contact Sue on 3083558 or sign up online at

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