Inspirational community activists who help keep neighbourhoods safe are being called on to spread their good work by the government’s champion for active, safer communities, Baroness Newlove.
Outlining her programme of work with a ‘call to action’, Baroness Newlove is working with ministers to encourage local people, businesses and frontline workers, like the police, on what more they can do to make their communities safer.
The Baroness’ new role will involve:
- a series of visits to projects across the UK to meet people who have helped make a difference in their area, witnessing first-hand what works and what the barriers are to successful community activism
- a new blog to directly communicate with activists and the wider public, sharing on-going learning from her visits, highlighting innovation and challenges and signposting people to useful resources
- reporting back to ministers next year detailing how government and local agencies can empower communities.
Baroness Newlove said: ‘Today we want to start inspiring people all round the country to get involved, by showcasing the excellent work already done and freeing people to take part.
‘The government is creating the right environment for community-level activity to flourish by giving local people power over policing priorities and ending top-down government.
‘But for a real revolution to happen we need all the existing groups to help spread their success far and wide - if every group already doing good work now helps another we will see a real cultural shift.’
Travelling the country
As part of her work Baroness Newlove will travel around the country visiting areas with strong community engagement, shining a light on good practice and encouraging others to follow the example. Where communities face barriers the Baroness will seek to bring services together to get work moving.
In the coming weeks around six neighbourhoods across the country, which face real challenges, will be chosen to act as a ‘test-bed’ for galvanising local services to join forces with communities and tackle problems together.
Home Secretary’s statement
Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘Antisocial behaviour ruins lives and scars communities - for too long it has been sidelined and communities have been let down. Baroness Newlove will be championing the active part people can play, alongside the frontline, in tackling the problems that matter most in their neighbourhoods.
‘She brings a wealth of experience to this important new role that really is at the vanguard of community empowerment. I look forward to seeing the results of her work which will help us all build safer and more confident communities free from crime and ASB.’
An important part of Baroness Newlove’s role will be to build on existing successes by asking community organisations, businesses and police forces and their partners including Safer Neighbourhood Teams to reach out and help more people get involved. This includes community organisations, the network of almost 4,000 Community Crime Fighters and Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
Baroness Newlove added: ‘The majority of people want to play a part in efforts to improve where they live and we know there is a clear link between local community safety schemes and crime reduction.
‘We want to build an environment where neighbourhood activism can flourish by inspiring the public and local businesses to step up and work hand in hand with the frontline.
‘There is real expertise and passion out there from neighbourhood police, to Community Crime Fighters and local people who want to make a difference. We want to tap into that and spread the benefits of community activism far and wide.
The new blog, ‘Helen Newlove - encouraging active, safer communities’, will include updates on her visits and features on community projects to help inspire people around the country about what they can do within their own neighbourhood. Launched today it will also feature guest posts from projects and people who have made a real difference in their areas.
Notes to editors
1. For more details on Baroness Newlove’s progress please log-on to her blog
- The neighbourhoods chosen by Baroness Newlove as ‘test beds’ of community activism will be identified in the coming weeks.
3. A study from 2009, Measuring Neighbourhood Watch: Views of Effectiveness, found that Neighbourhood Watch is reported as reducing crime in 79 per cent of cases in the UK.