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NHW celebrates SA Youth Week

SA Youth Week is South Australia’s biggest celebration for young people aged 12-25.

Running from Sunday 2 May to Sunday 9 May, the annual celebration week provides a unique platform to recognise the contribution of young people to our communities while aiming to empower our youth to make a difference to their own and others’ lives. Find out more about SA Youth Week here.

As part of SA Youth week, the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) team sat down with young member and volunteer Liam White to hear more about his involvement with the program.

Liam is 20 years old and while studying at the University of South Australia and working as a Cameraman, he also finds time to take part in Sefton Park’s Neighbourhood Watch group.

Hear what he had to say…

To start, tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m part of the Neighbourhood Watch group in Sefton Park. I’m currently studying Primary Education at the University of South Australia, and I also work as a Cameraman for sports leagues like the Adelaide Footy League.

I’m in second year uni at the moment so it was a pretty interesting this last year with everything COVID happening. Now that we’re back on campus and I’ve had a year of uni it’s a bit easier. I do love it though, it’s a good course. Good people in it too.

How did you hear about NHW?

I had a couple of family members, in their respective groups in Neighbourhood Watch and they always sung its praises so I thought I might give it a shot, I really love it so far.

When did you start getting involved in NHW?

A couple of years ago. I wanted to do a bit of volunteer work and connect with the community so I made some enquiries about it. I spoke to the local contact at SAPOL and she encouraged me to go to my closest group, which was Sefton Park. I began attending meetings and it was as simple as that.

What’s the best thing about NHW?

The best thing about NHW has to be the people. That might sound cliché, but it’s truly excellent seeing the enthusiasm and diverse range of perspectives they bring to any discussion.

Have you been involved in any NHW activities recently?

We have had the meetings recently but because of COVID it has been difficult to do events, everything got put on hiatus. Our group has done lots in the past like fundraisers, being present at the Prospect Spring Fair, and of course promoting crime prevention. They also welcome new people to the community through info packs. People that have just moved into Sefton get them, it introduces them to the area and shows that there’s plenty of community help available. They also include a few useful trinkets and gadgets as goodies!

You sound like a busy person, how do you balance your studies, work and NHW volunteering?

It can be quite a juggling act, but that’s life I think. The experiences from all my ventures, and especially NHW make it worth it, and I find the community involvement very rewarding.

Do you think that being involved with the NHW has impacted in other areas of your life?

It’s given me an opportunity to meet people that I never would have met otherwise, it's helped develop my confidence and identity as well, it really pays to mix with your community. The NHW was also a great introduction to volunteering as I went from just being involved with NHW to becoming a SAPOL volunteer, as a role player, and that’s been a really good experience for me.

Since joining the NHW do you feel safer and more connected to your community?

It’s that sense of community and vigilance which really helps with that. There are plenty of initiatives and common goals in place, if something needs to be solved in terms of safety or things like that, that’s what the group really gets onto. It also really helps having a police coordinator at the meetings because they’re always super helpful and its nice having that liaison to provide some insight.

Of course you know who your neighbours are, but once you join a NHW group, that extends beyond just who’s to your left and right.

What would you say to someone, a similar age to you, contemplating getting involved in the NHW?

Go for it! I think it’s one of the most direct ways to get involved in your local community and like I said before it helps further build identity.

Does your group have any future plans?

We’re actually having a meeting tomorrow night where I’ll find out more about our future plans. But I’m looking forward to getting back into solving community issues and then of course enjoying some tea and biscuits with the group!

If someone is reading this and wants to get involved, what’s the best way for them to do it?

Google! It’s easier than ever to gain the information you need to get involved. And even without that, it’s as simple as attending your next local NHW meeting as a visitor to find out more.

If you’re interested in joining the Neighbourhood Watch find your nearest group here and get in touch!

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