NEIGHBOURHOOD FACEBOOK: Andrew McKenna is expanding the North Buderim group online.
NEIGHBOURHOOD FACEBOOK: Andrew McKenna is expanding the North Buderim group online. Melanie Keyte

North Buderim Neighbourhood Watch branches out online

A WHOLE world of opportunity has opened up for the North Buderim Neighbourhood Watch, who have recently made the move on to social media.

Previously, the community group relied on old-fashioned letterbox drops, and still do in some areas.

However, when the North Buderim area coordinator Andrew McKenna realised a sizeable chunk of land nearby wasn't covered by the traditional outreach methods, he decided to test out the waters on Facebook.

He created the group online, and within a few weeks, had attracted a handful of members.

"It's been far more promising than our meetings,” he said.

Since getting involved with Neighbourhood Watch about two years ago, Mr McKenna said he has been churning through ideas to engage the community in better ways.

Like most groups in Australia, the North Buderim's member cohort has been slowly shrinking, which he hoped to pick up through online media.

"I think we need to do a lot more talking,” he said.

"What I'm thinking is that we're going to need to move everything across to online sometime in the next five years, and that can't happen overnight.

"Certainly, people communicating with the group by attending meetings and putting motions forward are becoming less and less attractive.

"We need to start making it more attractive to engage with us.”

North Buderim's example is an odd one because it aims to unite two separate areas, one with an established Watch and one reliant purely on online outreach.

Mr McKenna admitted there was the potential for problems within the current model.

"At the moment, the old area that has had a Neighbourhood Watch group since about 1992 is still operating the way it always had,” he said.

"We need to bring those two together somehow.”

But at the end of the day, however the community received their news from the group was fine with him.

"As the size of the group has diminished over the decades, it's becoming increasingly important to get our message out to more than those who come to our meetings.”

You can find the group here

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