Just finished a meeting with local community representatives. They had planned to stay an hour but remained for over twice that time. I'm glad they stayed. You see our normally very quiet neighbourhood has had a spate of ASB, anti-social behaviour and we want to snuff that out before it develops further. The reps who called to see us, have been through this many times before in other neighbourhoods. They came with sound, practical advice and brought hope that something could be done and done quickly.Warning signs
Some properties nearby had become derelict and have been acting as a magnet for young people who apparently have nowhere else to go or things to do. We should have seen it coming; the writing was on the wall. A property starts to fall into disrepair; previously tended gardens become overgrown; the first grafitti appears: these are the warning signals to act quickly and get something done. And getting something done means speaking to community activists. They have the knowledge, understanding and skill sets to make sure that the right agencies are engaged from the word go. Write to them
If you are troubled by something like this check out online services such as www.writetothem.com
When you land on the web page you'll be asked to type your postcode and immediately you are provided with lists of your various representatives; Councillors, MPs, MLAs and MEPs. Rather than going it alone to wage a solitary campaign against the powers that be, it makes sense to enlist the support of public representatives who have greater clout in holding local government officials to account.
The reps this evening suggested drawing up a short action plan, first things first then others in time. That much maligned Health and Safety trumps ASB, so we will be making a start at securing problem buildings and grounds. We'll take things from there, bit by bit.
The writing's on the wall. Or rather it won't be.