Working on Safe accreditation

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By Mick Jensen

Safer Ashburton District has appointed Lesley Symington as the co-ordinator to help it work towards accreditation of Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand (SCFNZ).

The application process will need to demonstrate areas such as leadership and collaboration focusing on improving safety, the reach of the existing programmes, and the safety issues concerning the most vulnerable.

SCFNZ is a non-profit organisation that had developed collaborative relationships with government agencies, territorial authorities and business to influence significant changes in community safety.

Lesley Symington said there was some “amazing work” going on with community safety in Mid Canterbury.

She believed the SAFE Communities model would deliver good things for Ashburton district in the future.

She said community safety was not just about reducing and preventing crime and injury, but also about building strong, cohesive and participating communities.

“A safe community is one where all sectors work together in a co-ordinated and collaborative way.

“The process helps communities know what is available and puts in place joint activities and projects to address local concerns.”

Mrs Symington, who worked in local government and community development for 25 years, said a strong group of agencies were involved in the accreditation process, including those representing social and health services, education, Ashburton council, Hakatere Marae, government agencies and emergency services.

The steering group brought enthusiasm and experience to monthly meetings and it was their job to help her collate the right information to put in the application.

An adviser from SCFNZ was also available to help with it.

The accreditation application document needed to be completed by March 6.

Once received, feedback on it would be collated, and all going well, there would be a formal ceremony to acknowledge the accreditation on May 29, she said.

Lesley Symington’s role is for 20 hours per week and half of the funding for it has been given by Ashburton District Council.