WHO is good for Marlborough
The process of getting Marlborough recognised by the World Health Organisation as a safer community is already turning up positive results, says the project organisers.
The project began last year when people within the Marlborough community put forward issues they believed needed to be addressed in order to make Marlborough a safer place to live in.
Alcohol and drugs, rural and outdoor safety, safe homes, transport safety, workplace and learning environment and community and family violence were the six key safety concerns identified within the community.
A working group of 14 members from leading organisations within the community was formed, including members of Marlborough police and fire, the Ministry of Business and Innovation, ACC and the Department of Corrections.
Project co-ordinator Russell Montgomery took on the role of identifying projects in the community that fit into each of the six safety concerns, known as strands.
"There are so many really positive things happening in the community that people aren't aware of," Mr Montgomery said.
The working group and Mr Montgomery identified 206 existing organisations, projects and initiatives. They will be put into the final submission to be completed next month, with an emphasis on 32 of the organisations in the form of individual case studies.
The idea was to bring groups and organisations together so they could work more effectively, Mr Montgomery said.
"Some organisations are now talking together about how they can improve on what they are already doing," he said. "Anyone can say they're a great community to live in but what is that based on? This gives it validity."
The accreditation would also give Marlborough international recognition. People looking to move to New Zealand would be able to look at Marlborough and know it was internationally recognised as a safe place to live. There were also financial benefits of WHO recognition.
"For industry looking to invest in Marlborough, the WHO recognition actually means something to them."
Highlighting existing organisations might also push others to help. "If people are aware of these groups it might encourage them to stick their hand up. That desire to help seems to be lost in the community, although looking at our team, there are people out there."
A meeting of the working group on Tuesday showed the positive effect the process was already having on the community, Mr Montgomery said.
"It's the early stages but the benefits are already starting to show. The WHO project is putting on paper what we already know - that Marlborough is a great place to live."
- The Marlborough Express