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Street Association volunteers celebrate two years of good old-fashioned neighbourliness

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Helen Cavill (L) and Gareth Williams (R) are joined by Street Association volunteers.

A celebration is to be held to pay tribute to the Street Association volunteers in Buckinghamshire.

The flags will be out on Thursday 4 July for the good neighbour scheme that tackles loneliness, social isolation and doorstep crime across Buckinghamshire.

That’s the day the county’s six established Street Association areas will come together for a special celebration to make two years of good old-fashioned neighbourliness involving more than 5,000 residents.

It’s a good opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to 326 volunteer Street Association Members who keep the wheels of the scheme turning, says project lead Helen Cavill.

The celebration includes afternoon tea when Helen will present results and statistics from the good work Street Association Members have been doing throughout the year.

It also heralds a season of new training workshops covering scams awareness, exploitation of vulnerable residents by drug gangs, coping with domestic abuse, and support for people with dementia.

The six Street Associations in Buckinghamshire – Hughenden, Aylesbury Quarrendon, Aylesbury Walton Court, Princes Risborough, Chesham and Burnham – were set up as pilot schemes, run solely by neighbours with pump priming from Buckinghamshire County Council.

They aim to recruit people in every road and provide them with resources and free workshops to heighten awareness of issues such as doorstep crime, scams and domestic abuse, to increase the well being and safety of the community.

In the past couple of years, says Helen, there have been more than 300 referrals to the County Council’s preventative services where Street Association Members have identified vulnerable people who need extra support and who might have slipped under the radar – a 30% increase.

Members have also reported to Trading Standards 28 cases of doorstep, mail and phone scams, which would not normally have been expected. In that time, it is estimated that Trading Standards officers have intervened to stop more than £60,000 being scammed from vulnerable residents.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health a Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘This scheme is doing exactly what it says on the tin, and its success is down to the overwhelming enthusiasm of residents who’ve got involved.

Their commitment to restore community spirit, encourage their neighbours to look out for each other, and create communities where those who are vulnerable feel safe, is inspiring.

Gareth said it was easy to start a Street Association: with one simple information pack, a desire to know your neighbours are safe and well, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Further information can be found by emailing [email protected].

Buckinghamshire’s Street Association scheme, funded by the County Council and Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, was shortlisted for two national awards earlier in 2019. As a result 13 new communities have shown interest in starting schemes and already 50 volunteers have become Street Members outside of the pilot areas.

Helen will lead the free training and awareness workshops in the coming four months supported by County Council Community Link Officers and Trading Standards officers.

There will also be the following training and awareness workshops for all residents :

‘Behind Closed Doors’ – 90 minutes

A free Street Association workshop to help identify the types of exploitation and harm that can happen behind closed doors in your street, to help you understand what you can do to help: how to spot the signs of exploitation, including modern slavery, extremism, ‘county lines’ drugs, ‘cuckooing’ and abuse.

  • Tuesday 24th September 2019, 2.30pm – High Wycombe Library, 2nd Floor, 5 Eden Place, High Wycombe.
  • Tuesday 29th October 2019, 2.30pm – Burnham Park Hall, Room 2, Windsor Lane, Burnham.
  • Thursday 14th November 2019, 2.30pm – Aylesbury Library, Large Meeting Room, Walton Street, Aylesbury.

Dementia Awareness – 60 minutes

A free Street Association Dementia Friends workshop to help raise awareness of and understand dementia in your community.

  • Tuesday 9th July 2019, 11.00am – Chesham Library, Harding Room, Elgiva Lane, Chesham.
  • Wednesday 17th July 2019, 10.00am – Aylesbury Library, Large Meeting Room, Walton Street, Aylesbury.
  • Wednesday 9th October 2019, 2.00pm – Burnham Park Hall, Room 2, Windsor Road, Burnham.
  • Wednesday 7th November 2019, 10.30am – The Harrow, Warrendene Road, Hughenden Valley.

Scam Aware – 90 minutes

A free joint Street Association and Trading Standards workshop to help identify types of scams and harm that can happen to you and your neighbours: how to spot the signs of doorstep, postal, cyber, and telephone fraud to keep you and your neighbours safe.

  • Monday 15th July 2019, 2.00pm – Princes Risborough Library, Bell Lane, Princes Risborough.
  • Tuesday 10th September 2019, 10.30am – Aylesbury Library, Large Meeting Room, Walton Street, Aylesbury.
  • Thursday 10th October 2019, 2.00pm – Naphill Village Hall, Main Road, Naphill, High Wycombe.
  • Monday 11th November 2019, 10.30am – Chesham Library, Harding Room, Elgiva Lane, Chesham.

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