The Local Network of Care (LNOC) was officially launched in Strand two weeks ago.The event was held at the Phambili Development Centre/Bethesda Evangelical Church in Stork Street, Broadlands Park on Friday 9 March. Dr Samed Bulbulia, public health researcher at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), said the LNOC is a network of organisations building itself into a unified forum for addressing local challenges within local communities, envisaged to strengthen organisational capacity and lead to improved services to the community.“The LNOC was initially established in 2012 in Rusthof at the Hearts of Men offices, but collapsed the following year. As community-engaged members from the Violence Injury and Peace Research Unit (SAMRC-UNISA), we have discovered that multiple organisations work in silos, reaching only small numbers of people within disadvantaged communities,” he said.“We believe that if we work together, we would be able to be more effective in addressing the multiple social challenges communities face. We thus decided to resuscitate the network last year with the City of Cape Town coming on board as a member.”Among organisations on board are the SAMRC and Unisa’s Violence Injury and Peace Research Unit, the City’s Directorate for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, the Phambili Development Centre, Girls and Boys Town, Heartlands, Turn Around, Choose Life Ministries International Youth Centre, Kids of the King, Oasis, Global Vision International, and Boland College. Also included are “people who work as social activists, community workers or volunteers that would like to make a difference. The role of the respective organisations are to share information, ideas and resources with one another,” Bulbulia added. “Furthermore, organisations share the challenges they face and collectively attempt to find solutions.” At Friday’s launch, organisations got the opportunity to introduce themselves, mention progress and challenges, and representatives of the unit presented demonstrations on the nature and purpose of networking. A social contract was collectively developed for the member organisations. Monthly meetings, which aims to gain a sense of the challenges of the various organisations, will be held, Bulbulia said. Organisations will be put into contact with others who can assist to address these challenges. “We also make organisations aware of, for example, job opportunities and services, funding opportunities and training offered by the City,” the public health researcher said. “Many of the partners have already benefited through the network.”Official launches for both Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass LNOC were underway, to make communities aware of the initiative and source more organisations to be involved in them. “There is a need to know ‘who does what in the Helderberg’, and to join and address the social issues,” Bulbulia said.