This is the ease a community member experiences when accessing and joining the new innovative private neighbourhood platform called OurHood. This free mobile app allows members to share information with neighbours on the app’s notice board, see upcoming community events, borrow, buy and sell items, report on and stay informed about crime activities and more. The initiative was founded by Bruce Good and William Mellor in 2013 and was aimed to be a tool for building stronger and better-connected communities. “It came out of a need that we had when a friend was hijacked and wanted to inform people around him as quick as possible,” said Good.
Good said after the incident, they conducted research and found out that there were initiatives abroad that could be more applicable to South Africa. He said they also noticed that while numerous sites exist for social connections, none exist for neighbourhoods, which are reliant on e-mail or text-based groups, or sites not designed for community interaction. “In the beginning, the service was accessible only online, but the reception has been overwhelming. We launched the app in April and we’ve since seen the growth,” said Good.
He explained that the app is now active in 800 neighbourhoods across the country, translating to over 10 000 users signed up. One of the defining factors for an app like this is security, and OurHood emphasises this factor heavily. When signing up, users are initially pre-qualified and then have to complete the verification process whereby they need to send a utility bill to prove they stay at the address they supplied. In Fourways, the neighbourhoods currently activated are Lonehill, Beverly, Magalissig, Fourways, Dainfern and Douglasdale.
Community members can sign up by providing your details, including physical address. Personal details will never be shared. Community members will be sent a unique code or a neighbour can verify you online. Once the unique code is entered, community members can have online access to their hood. The community is encouraged to post notices, contact neighbours, sell things, join OurHood groups and can even pay for electricity.
Details: To sign up to this application go to www.ourhood.co.za and fill in the required information
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