What’s even better than living in your dream home? Feeling part of a connected community!

4 February 2022

Since 1983, Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) has been encouraging, advising and educating Victorians on how to protect themselves from crime; keep themselves, their family, their home and belongings safe; and get to know their neighbours and feel part of their community.

And now Dennis Family Corporation (DFC) is embracing the opportunity to enter a partnership with Neighbourhood Watch to assist residents in each of its Victorian residential estates to establish their own NHW groups.

“We pride ourselves on creating communities and homes where families can grow and prosper,” explains Peter Ryan, DFC’s Executive General Manager – Developments. “And getting to know your neighbours and involved in the local community is key to fostering a strong sense of community spirit.”

“It also increases the likelihood that people will look out for each other and take note of anything that appears out of the ordinary. In short, it makes an estate feel friendlier and safer.”

Vibeke Pedersen, Community Engagement Project Co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Watch Victoria, concurs: “At Neighbourhood Watch we know that a connected community is a happier, safer community. We are proud to have Dennis Family Corporation, one of Victoria’s most reputable residential property developers, as a partner in our Building Community Together program. Both organisations share a passion for community.”

“For more nearly 40 years, Neighbourhood Watch has been working with communities across Victoria to encourage neighbours to look out for each other, build closer ties and educate people about crime prevention, so they can feel safer in their neighbourhood.”

“How do we do it? We share our tips and suggestions on getting to know your neighbours, such as taking their bins in, and saying hi when you have the chance. It’s these small interactions that help you feel more connected, and, as a result, feel safer.”

The ‘Building Community Together’ partnership will see DFC contribute $7.7k per estate to establish an NHW group when it reaches the stage where there are enough residents living in the estate to make it viable.

The funds will cover the costs of NHW implementing a series of events and activities that will get the groups off to a flying start, including:

  • Distributing an online survey to all residents to evaluate their perception of crime, sense of safety, and knowledge of their neighbours.
  • Holding three Community Focus Sessions addressing the issues of Community Wellness: Country & Culture, Health & Fitness, Environment & Infrastructure, Safety & Crime Prevention, Hobbies & Lifestyle.
  • Supporting residents who are interested in running an NHW event, forming a new group or an event or program as identified in the community workshops.
  • Establishing a dedicated NHW Facebook Page.

“We were really impressed with the approach of NHW when we were supporting local residents to establish the Manor Lakes NHW Group late in 2020,” Peter continues. “This led to discussions about how it could be replicated in our other estates, and formulating the partnership.”

According to Vibeke, the beauty of NHW is that getting involved is very easy.

“Anyone is welcome – participants just need to be willing to work alongside their neighbours and fellow community members to help make the place they live safer and friendlier. How much time they give is totally up to each individual.”

“The type of activities undertaken by NHW groups can also vary depending on the issues that are important to the neighbourhood,” she maintains.

With the Manor Lakes NHW group now well established, Modeina will be the first estate to launch through the partnership in February 2022. This will be followed by Donnybrae, Westbrook and Ashbury estates. Peppercorn Hill will come on board a bit further down the track, as more residents move into the estate.

“We believe this partnership will deliver tangible benefits for our residents and be a great asset for each estate, helping both to grow and prosper,” Peter concludes.