‘Sense of community’ great to see

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PHOTO: ODT FILES

The three Taieri community board heads are applauding the lockdown measures, The Star reports.

Community response to the lockdown has been “pretty outstanding”, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairwoman Joy Davis says.

She had seen lots of people out walking and felt a “sense of community” among them.

It was lovely to see people saying hello as they passed each other, and children playing games from across the street, she said.

“Everyone’s doing the right thing and keeping their social distance,” Ms Davis said.

There were plenty of teddy bears in windows — and even one up a tree —and the Anzac Day celebrations were “wonderful”.

The lockdown had brought people together, and made them think about their neighbours and new ways of communicating with loved ones, she said.

She had a couple of phone calls early into lockdown from concerned residents and referrals from the welfare helpline, and was able to help connect people with the right agencies and get them help.

The future could be challenging for businesses and people who lost their jobs, so she encouraged them to reach out for help if they needed it.

“We need to all pull together on this so we keep our community thriving.”

Ms Davis also praised the “outstanding” local supermarkets.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall agreed, saying the lockdown had brought the “community even closer together”.

Smaller and rural communities had the benefit of knowing neighbours, and had been able to use those connections as a social outlet.

The community board had highlighted the available support through its social networking, and had encouraged people to reach out if they needed help.

The Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade had responded to a few backyard fires and medical events during Level 4 lockdown, but nothing significant.

At the start of lockdown, the Saddle Hill Community Board had worked alongside the Dunedin City Council to support several freedom campers — a man from France and a couple from Germany — who had been stranded in the area.

“They are lovely people, who were stuck in a really tricky situation,” Mr Weatherall said.

The stranded campers had been placed in temporary accommodation in a local motel and were doing well.

A recent storm and very high tide had threatened some local homes and the local camping ground with flooding, so the Community Response Team had been activated to assist with sandbagging.

Fortunately, with support from the local Otago Regional Council representative, the situation had been resolved successfully, he said.

With the weather being relatively settled and pleasant, many people were out exercising and enjoying walking at local beaches around the area.

“It’s been really good to see a whole lot of people out there enjoying the sunshine.

“We are super lucky to have so many great places to go in our area, and the lockdown has given people the chance to establish a new fitness regime.

“And the good weather has been helpful for people’s mental health.”

Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams said the community support in his district during lockdown had been

Many of the people in the district were farmers, so during the lockdown they continued to work as an essential service.

“It’s made it difficult to get stock away as the freezing works aren’t killing as much as they could be.

Consequently, farmers had a lot more stock to manage than they usually would at this time of year.

People had been sticking to the lockdown rules, he said.

“Everyone is conscious they don’t want it [Covid-19] up here. We’ve got to give it our best shot or we’re all buggered.”