This year, children's charity Variety SA celebrated Christmas a little differently due to COVID-19.
Ordinarily, Variety SA host an annual Christmas party for disadvantaged children and children with disabilities at the Wayville Showgrounds, and in previous years SA Police officers have gone along to engage with the children and community members in attendance.
This year Variety SA reassigned the funds that would have been allocated to the Christmas party as grants to individual special education settings throughout Adelaide for them to host their own Christmas events. This has given SA Police members the opportunity to visit these schools and take part in their events, building positive relationships with the students in their own environment.
As an example, police officers from the Community Engagement Section (CES) and Southern Districts Response attended Aspect Treetop School at Ashford last week to meet and interact with the school's 66 students and staff. The day was a great success and the police officers and students all had a great time.
This was a great opportunity for CES members to support SA Police’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan and improve their own understanding of children living with disabilities in our community, as well as giving the students an opportunity to connect with police officers in a relaxed and informal environment.
SA Police members also attended St Patricks Special School, Gawler and District College, Madison Park Primary School, The Grove Education Centre, Modbury Special School, Adelaide West Special Education Centre and Adelaide East Education Centre in the lead up to Christmas to spread some festive joy and help students celebrate the end of the school year.
Events like these bring people together and create a more inclusive environment which can help people feel safe and connected. Neighbourhood Watch groups are well placed in the community to engage with these local groups and we encourage the Neighbourhood Watch enthusiasts out there to consider any potential opportunities or projects that your local Neighbourhood Watch group could take on to improve these connections and make our communities safer, connected and more inclusive for everyone.