Buckinghamshire County Council’s Street Associations scheme has been named as one of nine leading community projects at the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Awards.
The scheme aims to recruit people in every road and provide them with resources and free workshops to heighten awareness of issues such as doorstep crime, scams, dementia awareness and domestic abuse, to increase the well being and safety of the community.
A delighted Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health at Buckinghamshire County Council, said that being a national finalist was tribute to the commitment of almost 300 residents who have become actively involved in six pilot Street Associations across the county and to the untiring work of Helen Cavill, who leads the project. Noel said: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of residents who have become involved in these six Street Association pilots. The success is down to their commitment to restore community spirit: making their communities places where neighbours look out for each other, and where those who are vulnerable feel safe.‘
Six pilots schemes in High Wycombe (Hughenden), Aylesbury, Princes Risborough, Chesham and Burnham have been going for more than 18 months. They were set up and run solely by neighbours, with pump priming from Buckinghamshire County Council. Following their success another 13 communities have asked for information about how to start a Street Association.
Helen Cavill, Street Associations Project Lead, said during the past 18 months 200 streets had become involved in the six pilot schemes, and 225 residents had received awareness training in doorstep crime, scams, domestic abuse and the effects of dementia. Encouragingly, she said, 75 local businesses had given their backing. Helen said: ‘Apart from the 13 communities that have shown interest, we’ve had enquiries from two other county councils, which is great news for the cause of good neighbourliness.‘
Since the pilots launched there has been on average a 40% increase in the number of 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.
Street Association members have also made 30 referrals to the Trading Standards team about doorstep and general scams, which would not normally have been expected.
Information on how to start a Street Association can be found at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/community/helping-your-community/street-associations/.
Buckinghamshire’s Street Associations scheme has been funded by the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner.