TWO award-winning community initiatives in Minehead will take centre stage at a pioneering Somerset County Council and Avon and Somerset Police event this week.
The Hope Centre project and Dreamscheme are among successful schemes being showcased through a ‘Safer Stronger Neighbourhood’ roadshow.
The partnership event, organised by the county council and the police, is the first of its kind and aims to influence the future of neighbourhood policing.
It takes place on Thursday morning at Bridgwater and Albion Rugby Club, and will bring together police, local authority councillors and officers, and other agencies to share information about some of the most inspirational community work going on in Somerset.
The Hope Centre is run by volunteers through Minehead Baptist Church and provides drop-in facilities for hard to reach members of the local community, such as the homeless, alcoholics, and drug abusers.
It offers support, hot food and drinks, and help in avoiding reoffending, making medical appointments, and linking with other agencies.
Finance for the project has been provided by the county council via the Somerset West Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.
It won an award last November for an outstanding contribution to reducing re-offending.
The Dreamscheme initiative, on the Seaward Way estate, enables young people to carry out community projects to earn points which are then exchanged for activities and trips.
The projects, such as community clean-ups and gardening, have helped engage young people on the estate and reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Dreamscheme won the Neighbourhood Watch youth award and a commendation in the police’s children and young people awards for its contribution to the local community.
County council leader, Councillor Jill Shortland, and Avon and Somerset Police Authority chairman Dr Moira Hamlin, will give presentations at the roadshow and take part in a question and answer session to generate ideas on how to improve neighbourhood policy through partnership working.
The county’s community safety portfolio holder, Councillor Henry Hobhouse, said: “We are committed to providing safer communities for all our residents, through partnership work and prevention.
“This event will showcase some of the many excellent examples of inspirational projects which are having a real impact on improving community safety and reducing fear of crime.
“It is also an opportunity for people to contribute new ideas that could influence the future of neighbourhood policing.”
Head of the Somerset West police district, Chief Superintendent Sandy Padgett, said: “Neighbourhood policing has come along in leaps and bounds over the last year and I am really proud of how my teams have worked together with partners and communities to tackle local issues in a proactive and positive way.
“The ‘Safer Stronger Neighbourhood’ roadshow will allow us to showcase just some of this work and kick start a productive 2009.”