Sue Mountstevens, the newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset, visited Patchway last Friday (7th December) to learn first hand about the work being carried out by Southern Brooks Community Partnership (SBCP).
This visit was part of a whistle stop tour of South Gloucestershire, during which Ms Mountstevens also met the area’s District Commander, Chief Superintendent Sarah Crew, attended a meeting of Safer & Stronger South Gloucestershire in Thornbury and met the manager of a community support project in Warmley.
The agenda for the Safer & Stronger South Gloucestershire meeting included items such as budget consultation, priority neighbourhoods (of which Patchway is one) and housing priorities for the local area.
SBCP, based at Coniston Community Centre, offers a range of services helping children and young people through the transition into independence and adulthood; supporting families, and developing safe, strong and inclusive communities.
The Director of SBCP, Julie Close, said:
“We welcome Sue’s approach to dealing with anti social behaviour and working to reduce crime against women in particular and hope that she can recognise working with young children early to stop them from getting involved in crime.”
“On behalf of Southern Brooks we thank Sue for coming to visit us and meeting the local people, we are very encouraged by the work that she’s getting involved in.”
As part of her visit to Patchway, the Police and Crime Commissioner was taken on a walkabout tour of The Parade local centre in Coniston Road, where she met a shopkeeper who has been experiencing ongoing problems with anti-social behaviour and racism.
In October, a firework was thrown into The Parade Stores, injuring a couple and their young daughter. A racial slur was also shouted at the Sri Lankan shopkeepers by the attackers.
Speaking about the issues affecting the shopkeepers, SBCP’s Julie Close told The Journal:
“Southern Brooks has been working with the [shopkeeper] family for a number of years, alongside Patchway Town Council and particularly Cllr Eric Gordon. Working through the Communities Against Hate crime group, we’ve been drawing attention to the plight of the family. The police, SARI and Merlin Housing Society have all been working together to try and resolve the many complex issues that the family face.”
“Southern Brooks has provided support through a family support worker, and through Karen Cheal, our Priority Neighbourhood Development Co-ordinator. Both regularly visit the family providing practical and emotional support. Our role has often been to make sure that other agencies are doing what they can to help. We’ve been able to make sure that our detached youth work team work with the young people that meet on The Parade, getting them involved in activities within the community centre and at Scott Park. Our new junior youth club run by Ternaya Cummings regularly works on projects to help them understand the impact of racism. They recently ran creative workshops supported by SARI and all of the young people felt that they better understood the issues.”
“However the family are still having a really difficult time, and we feel that as agencies we’ve failed to make a difference to their quality of life and this saddens us.”
Photo 1: PCC Sue Mountstevens (2nd from left) with (l-r) Andrew Thomas (Chair, SBCP), Tom Aditya (Treasurer, SBCP) and Julie Close (Director, SBCP).
Photo 2: PCC Sue Mountstevens (right) and SBCP Tresurer Tom Aditya (centre) chat with a shopkeeper at The Parade Stores.
Photo 3: PCC Sue Mountstevens (3rd from left) on a walkbout at The Parade, Coniston Road, Patchway.
Related link: Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner