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College students help community project

20 Feb 2015 14:31 PM

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Students from Gateshead College have volunteered for a community safety project in Blaydon.

The 18 students have received training for the project - which began last week and involves speaking with residents in the Denton View, Cromwell Avenue and Tynebank areas.

Working with Gateshead Housing Company, Gateshead Council and the Neighbourhood Policing Team, the volunteers are looking at the crime and anti-social behaviour experiences of people who live in that area.

Neighbourhood Inspector Michael Robson said: "The volunteers aren't council workers or police officers, they are independent and will form a view of what it's like to live on the estate from the experiences residents tell them about.

"They'll then present this back to partners who will be in a better position to tackle some of the issues.

"It's vital for us to hear the view of residents so we can ensure we're tackling the issues of most concern and this will go along way to helping us establish independently what's happening and where.

"For the students, they have been trained in problem solving and how the community safety partners work together to resolve community issues, so these are good skills to take forward in their future."

A similar project last year in Bensham produced some good evidence of how the community perceive anti-social behaviour and the police and council respond to it.

Insp Robson added: "Residents who had seen anti-social behaviour and reported it to the police or council had a greater satisfaction and felt confident about the area they lived.

"Those that had seen anti-social behaviour but didn't report because they felt the police and council couldn't do anything about it felt the opposite. The message going back to the community was very much report it because we can do something."

As well as completing questionnaires, the volunteers will also be promoting health opportunities to residents.

Gateshead Council cabinet member for communities and volunteering, Cllr Linda Green, added: "We’re always looking for ways to make neighbourhoods safer and more enjoyable to live in. This project is a great way of working with a variety of organisations and involving residents in new ways to do that."