The Brunshaw Neighbourhood Watch
The current activity of Brunshaw Neighbourhood Watch, in Burnley, was started after a specific incident.
As you know, it is not uncommon for Schemes to be kick-started by concern spring-boarded from a particular event; and we have been motivated by one incident which has influenced the style of Neighbourhood Watch that coordinators have wanted for our area. As well as good linkage with our Neighbourhood Police Force, who did a wonderful job when dealing with the incident, we have hoped to widen community cohesion to bring a greater sense of grassroots security for our children and other vulnerable people.
Our story started with two sisters who had been living in the area for only a couple of years. The elder was employed delivering Free Newspapers, she was being helped by her younger sister.
Unfortunately, they were harassed and taunted by two boys during this paper-round, they were then left alone, but the boys returned a few minutes later brandishing a metal bar, with which they threatened the girls, touching the younger girl’s head. The girls, who had stood their ground on the initial buffeting, had now to give in, and give up their trolley of Papers.
So stupid was this incident of wanting to steal FREE newspapers; the Police were aware that the boys were even reported to be trying to sell from the trolley some time later.
But the point was made that, at the time of the incident the girls felt helpless with nowhere to get help, they were only a few streets down from their home, but if there had been the same style of community spirit that they had known in the village from where they had moved, it would only have taken a knock at a door to call for help, and an adult could have either called for help on their behalf, or simply been an additional presence, which is all it would have taken.
Community Spirit is not about going into each other’s houses; but one of being able to acknowledge one another on the Avenue or Street where we live, with a common interest of Well Being. Neighbourhood Watch is the well-established Scheme that is linked to the right authorities for this to work, but both the authorities and our neighbours still need to have a good equal identity that the Scheme which is the BRIDGE to healthy community.
The P.A.C.T. Panel Meeting has been the connection for Neighbourhood Watch to have its regular identity and meeting with authorities including meeting with local Councillors and Landlord representatives, so that practical issues can also be tackled.
However, for Community Cohesion amongst neighbours to be evoked and strengthened, a whole array of ideas have been practised since the start of our joint two Watch areas in 2009. These have included:
· Regular open meeting to follow the P.A.C.T. Panel Meeting (for the length of time that we had a free meeting room available, near to our two NHW areas)
· Creating a road closure to hold an “Awareness Day”, where we invited our local Providers such as Fire and Safety, Police, Landlord, C.V.S and a NHW stall – where neighbours provided cakes and drinks to sell
· Taking advantage of trainings on various subjects such as
- “How To Get Your Point Across”
- “Community Crime Fighting” – that brought with it a Grant we used to erect two Notice Boards
- “Drugs Awareness”
- “Advanced BTec Level 3, Community Advocacy”
- “How To Set Up a Website”
· Use of a local park to hold events
· Organised the Street Parties for the Royal Wedding
· One neighbour won a competition for food for the Diamond Jubilee Party; whilst another neighbour provided a large tent, placed in the middle of the street, because of the wet weather. With News Reporters placing the efforts in the local press
· Combined Grant Funding, helped us to create our own Youth and Family News Team. Using semi-professional video equipment we report on what is happening in our area and show it in 3 minute clips on www.brunshawneighbourhoodwatch.co.uk
· We have linked with the Rossendale C.A.R. Video unit, who work to B.B.C. standards, in order to learn good practise and offer quality editing of our short films.
We have learnt that we cannot do our community cohesion build alone. For people to take us seriously, it needs to have a much wider and acknowledged identity as well as a good support system and agreed understanding of ‘Good Practise’.
It has improved the Scheme’s well-being to be linked with the Nation Neighbourhood Watch identity of www.ourwatch.org.uk and on an even closer level having personal representation on the Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Forum (www.LNWF.co.uk), based for convenience sake around the Preston area.
It is from the LNWF perspective, which has links with the Police HQ at Preston, that we have been able to stay abreast of where our Scheme stands in the greater perspective of our association with current Police trends and the cut-backs that are having to be made in our County.
A sign of healthiness is often seen by growth, and it is for this reason that as an established team of coordinators, we need to encourage streets and avenues in our local area to collate a complete blanket of Neighbourhood Watch where we live. In addition, we have a display package which we take to events in other towns or other parts of our own town. So if you would like to put a display package together; or you would like our team to deliver a display to an event in your area, contact us through the ‘Contact Page’ on