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Para Hills celebrate 25th birthday

On Monday 23rd August, Para Hills Neighbourhood Watch SA group (Area 441) came together with the wider community to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Taking place at Para Hills Community Club and following all COVID regulations and protocols, attendees gathered for a very special occasion with VIP speeches, certificate presentations and some delicious food.

Neighbourhood Watch SA is South Australia’s largest community crime prevention program. It brings neighbours and police together to solve local issues, develop safer neighbourhoods and create connected and inclusive communities.

The enthusiastic Para Hills group started in April 1996 under the leadership of a dedicated band of local residents. Motivated by an attack on a local elderly man, the group came together, determined to support, and connect the Para Hills community.

In the year 2000, four local residents with strong convictions arranged an organising committee to take over the running of the group, with the four of them alternating in the leadership role. This model is still being followed to this day, some 20 years later!

The committee meet six times a year to - amongst other tasks - plan their community meetings, arranging a variety of exciting guest speakers for their six yearly public meetings.

Two of their members have been involved for the entire 25 years – Le Goldthorpe and Kathy Harrison – and they were rightly presented with certificates by SAPOL’s Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval as part of yesterday’s celebrations.

Community Engagement Sergeant of Northern District, Deborah Luetkens who attended on the night, spoke very highly of the group and the impact it has on the community:

“They always portray SA Police and the Neighbourhood Watch in an extremely positive light and to say they are enthusiastic is an understatement.

“During recent times, whilst they had to postpone meetings due to COVID restrictions, their newsletters continued and so did their positive attitude and willingness to help. They are very supportive and even offer door to door transport to meetings for those that may otherwise be unable to get to them.

“Their genuine compassion makes the group an invaluable asset to the program and the community. This reflects the passionate committee who continue to strive to make Para Hills a safer place to live, work, shop and visit”.

The group have strong connections with local partners including one with Para Hills Primary School. They hold a yearly meeting with the school in efforts to develop community relationships while building awareness of the Neighbourhood Watch amongst students. The group provide all students with a gift bag and finish the meeting with a celebratory afternoon tea.

They also provide the school with a $50 voucher which is presented to a year 7 student as part of a Citizenship Award at their graduating ceremony.

Sergeant Luetkens explains why they are so passionate about this venture:

“They are a very active group and are heavily involved in the community, especially with the Para Hills Primary School. They take great pride in this partnership as it brings together students and older community members while also promoting the many benefits of the Neighbourhood Watch program to a fresh cohort of young community members. It’s a great initiative!”.

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

Follow Neighbourhood Watch SA on Facebook for the latest news, updates, and crime prevention hints & tips.