The government’s champion for Active Safer Communities, Baroness Newlove last week visited Northern Ireland to see for herself the success of the grassroots ‘Street by Street’ project in East Belfast which through the work of dedicated and committed local volunteers has been highly successful in reducing anti-social behaviour in the city.
Launched 3 years ago, the project is a partnership between community and voluntary groups and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and involves local people actively monitoring anti-social behaviour in their own areas. Every Friday and Saturday night highly visible volunteers patrol their neighbourhoods, looking out for any potential problems.
The teams have built up close relationships with local people and work closely with local neighbourhood police units, freeing up police resources to allow officers to tackle criminal behaviour.
Baroness Newlove also visited Derry in her role as Chair of Community Alcohol Partnerships to see for herself the effect of a local community project to tackle underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in the city. The Challenging Underage Drinking Initiative launched last year in the Creggan, Rosemount, Beechwood and Glen areas of the city is said to have reduced some alcohol-related incidents by 50%.
Baroness Newlove said:
I have just returned from Northern Ireland, and have been inspired by 2 community projects which I could only dream about. Against huge challenges after the troubles these wonderful people are creating active, safer neighbourhoods and building trust I intend to support whole heartedly the street by street initiative in East Belfast and the challenging under age drinking initiative in Derry.