October 20, 2020

New committee of Neighbourhood Support faces funding crunch ahead

The challenges of a financial crunch caused by Covid-19, came to the forefront at the Annual General Meeting of the Neighbourhood Support Hamilton where the current committee members and office-bearers were re-elected.

Two local leaders and parliamentary candidates, Tim Macindoe (National Party) and Jamie Strange (Labour Party), and NZ Police Waikato Area Commander, Andrea McBeth were among those who attended the AGM at the Settlement Centre Waikato on 23 Sept., 2020.

The office-bearers elected are: Gurbir Singh- Chairperson; Murray Rickerby- Treasurer and Dr Aamir Mukhtar- Secretary.

Cr. Margaret Forsyth and Sr. Constable Craig Berquist represent the Hamilton City Council and NZ Police respectively on the managing committee. Wendy Booth also continues in her current role of Field Officer.

Some of committee members with Jamie Strange, Tim Macindoe & Andrea McBeth (in back row)

In his address to the members, the Chairperson, Gurbir Singh outlined a snapshot of the past year, emphasising on the impact that Neighbourhood Support continues to make in the local community, and the challenges the organisation is facing due to a funding crunch.

“It has been a challenging year due to Covid-19. Despite that Neighbourhood Support has continued to make an impact in the local community as is evident from the increase in numbers.

“We have added 885 new members as compared to 504 in 2019 & 222 in 2018. Our current household membership stands at 11,140,” the Chairperson said.

He applauded the comradeship seen amongst neighbours that grew significantly during Covid-19. He mentioned the young Hamilton couple who received the Best Neighbour Award, instituted by the New Zealand Neighbourhood Support.

“Neighbourhood Support was also in the forefront and distributed $1000 worth of Pak N’Save & New World vouchers to needy families of Hamilton – thanks to Foodstuffs who provided these vouchers free,” he added.

The financial challenges faced by this not-for-profit organisation was, however, a matter of concern for both the Chairperson, Gurbir Singh and Treasurer, Murray Rickerby.

 “While we are currently in a sound financial position- thanks to the surplus carried over from previous years, it is of real concern that if this trend continues this could challenge the future viability of this organisation.

“We are striving to cut our operational costs to the bare minimum, and may have to resort to seeking donations to keep us going,” Gurbir Singh said.

He conveyed his thanks to those organisations that have continued to provide grants to Neighbourhood Support Hamilton, including NZ Lotteries Board, Hamilton City Council, Community Organisation Grants scheme.

The Chairperson, Singh had a special word of thanks for Sr Constable Berquist of the Crime Prevention team of Hamilton Police for his support that has contributed to the success of this organisation.

In the Financial Performance report & the Budget presented to the members, Murray Rickerby, Treasurer, highlighted the funding received during the year and the shortfall expected if the organisation’s grant applications were not successful due to Covid-19.

“We are comfortable for this year, but if this trend (of lack of funding grants) continues, it would prove very challenging,” he said.

Field Officer, Wendy Booth-who has been in this role for the last three years, elaborated how the organisation has grown from strength to strength and 176 new groups were formed last year. The entire database and membership enrolment processes were also online now. She also clarified that at the average of four members per household, the membership of Neighbourhood Support hamilton effectively is 44,000+.

NZ Police Area Commander, Andrea McBeth, who is a big supporter and believer in the concept of Neighbourhood Support, applauded the work being done by this organisation and hoped that their collaboration with NZ Police will help make the local communities safer.


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