Work is underway to reduce crime and improve resident and business safety in central St Leonards
Following the Police and Crime Commissioner's successful bid to the Home Office for £473,396 Safer Streets funding for parts of Central St Leonards, work is now underway with residents and businesses to gather their ideas on how to reduce theft and generally improve the safety of the area.
Although much of this funding has already been set aside for security and environmental improvement works, the Safer St Leonards project team are keen to work with residents to ensure their safety concerns and ideas for improvements in their community are heard.
Heart of Hastings are leading on this community engagement work and are meeting with residents on their doorsteps, following COVID-19 guidelines on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
As well as listening and recording opinions, both teams will make return visits to share findings from their discussions. The partnership hopes these interactions will establish connections that strengthen existing networks with volunteers in the area as well as setting up new neighbourhood support systems which will continue long into the future.
John Funnell, Tidy Up St Leonards, said,
"Tidy Up St Leonards are an enthusiastic group of local volunteers. We meet weekly to do what we can to improve the Street Scene of St Leonards. We typically clear around 40 sacks of rubbish at our events plus at least as much again carried out by our local heroes who routinely clear up their own and other areas.
"We are a natural fit to work as part of the Safer Streets project due to our significant experience of areas needing improvement. We look forward to improving some of these spots, attracting new 'local hero' volunteers and making a difference in the community."
Caoimhe O'Gorman, Engagement Manager at Heart of Hastings, explained,
"Our door knocking teams have received an amazing response from the residents of St Leonards, who are engaging with us and sharing how they feel their community can be made safer through this funding.
"It is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference to the area they live in and provide improvements, that without this funding just wouldn't be possible"
John Bownas of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership, said,
"All of the businesses we have spoken to so far are very positive about the project and everyone clearly wants this new funding to make a difference. We are confident that by working together we can make the town a safer place to work and shop."
Cllr Paul Barnett, Hastings Borough Council's lead councillor for Urban Environment and Community Safety, added,
"It's great to see the partners working together with the community to establish beneficial ways of spending the funding. This funding will go a great way in improving the areas safety, leading to a reduction in crime rates in Central St Leonards.
"If you are a community group who is already active in the area and are interested in working with the Safer St Leonards project get in contact with them via the Safer St Leonards website."