ASB Awareness Week: How police and partners have helped youth centre reopen and thrive
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Police have helped partners and local young people reopen a youth centre which had been forced to close for six months after it was plagued by antisocial behaviour.
A share of £250,000 of Safer Streets funding helped to get The Ridge Adventure Centre, in Ridgeway, Top Valley, back in action in February.
The cash is also providing three evening sessions a week for young people to attend activities including boxing, football, table tennis and pool.
Inspector Paul Ferguson, neighbourhood policing inspector for Nottingham North, said: “Antisocial behaviour is one of the priorities for my team and we are always looking at new ways to find solutions to the problem by working with our partners.
“Youths gathering in public spaces can often be seen as intimidating, whereas in actual fact, very often this is a social gathering.
“We regularly engage with groups and one consistent request was for a safe space to get together and for activities to be available.
“When the Safer Streets bid was successful, police together with partners including Nottingham City Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and local youth workers agreed it was incredibly important to direct some of the funds to the centre.
“This was to provide youth outreach, but also centre-based activities for young people in a safe space where they could engage in positive activities.
“In February 2023, I am pleased to say that after a huge amount of effort by everyone involved, the centre was able to reopen and allowed for youth workers from Communities Unite and Helping Kids Achieve to run sessions for local young people.
“This proved so popular that there are regularly 40 to 50 people attending each session. It gives children and young adults a safe environment to get together, socialise and build relations with workers and partners in the area.
“The ongoing work is helping police build relations with the young people and on Wednesday 21 June 2023, neighbourhood police officers, Operation Reacher officers and the fire service, along with other partners attended a community day at the centre.
“This was a fantastic event which was attended by more than 100 young people and allowed for really positive engagement where officers got involved with football, archery and other challenges. This can only help with our ongoing efforts to engage with the community including young people in the Top Valley area.”
In addition to the support for youth services in the area, the Safer Streets fund has also enabled almost 200 homes in the area to be provided with enhanced security including CCTV cameras, Ring doorbells and improved lighting to help further reduce antisocial behaviour and make residents feel safer.
The measures have proved popular with local people and officers have already received positive feedback.
One Top Valley couple said in a letter to Insp Ferguson: “We now feel much safer as we can see if anyone is on our property or comes to our door. In general the whole area has become safer with a noticeable reduction of antisocial behaviour.
Another resident, who has lived in Top Valley for more than 20 years, described how the installation of lighting and CCTV at his home had improved his way of life so much that it has persuaded him to stay in the area.
Insp Ferguson added: “It is always great to receive feedback like this, but we are not complacent and that is why our ongoing engagement and support for youth work in the community is so important.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “It is fantastic to hear how this youth centre helping to transform the area and give young people more positive activities to engage in.
“It is a great example of how Safer Streets is being used to prevent antisocial behaviour and the harm this causes to communities. It also shows how we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local residents to act on their concerns and improve their quality of life.
“What's really important about Safer Streets is that it brings partners together to come up with solutions to issues that we all have a vested interest in tackling and by coming together we can do this far more efficiently and effectively.”
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured more than £5.5m of Safer Streets funding for Nottinghamshire over four rounds of funding, with a further £1.4m to come after the announcement by the Home Office this week. Overall, this is biggest amount secured by any PCC across England and Wales.
The work done in Top Valley is being highlighted by police as part of a national week of action.
Throughout ASB Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday (9 July), Nottinghamshire Police has been shining a spotlight on the force’s continued efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour and the positive work being done to within communities.
We will be highlighting how members of the public can report issues, the tools being used by officers to engage and educate people and some of the great partnership work taking place across the county.
To report antisocial behaviour, call 101 or use the Live Chat option on our website. If you don’t report it the problems may continue - so don’t rely on someone else to report it for you.