Children have designs on community safety

Children in Cowgate have unveiled a creative way in which they can make their community safer.

The children, with help from their families, artist Paul Belcher and Newcastle City Council, have been out painting boards to go on the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Whitethorn Crescent in the Cowgate estate.

These colourful barriers will act as a deterrent to stop people accessing the derelict property on the corner and using it as a rat run to access the back of the properties on Chestnut Ave.  

Before the installation of these boards normal fencing had been used but only lasted a few days before being vandalised or knocked down.

Access to the property because of its position was a safety problem for the area and also not pleasant for other residents to look at.

Last month the children from Chestnut Avenue created the boards and earlier this week Cllr Henri Murison, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet Member for Quality of Life, Cllr Linda Hobson, Chair of Safe Newcastle, and Newcastle Area Command Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert visited the children who worked on the boards.

The main message of these boards is about encouraging community spirit, taking pride in the area, and working together to improve feeling of safety and confidence.

One of the priorities of Safe Newcastle plan which was launched earlier this year is to promote pubic order and community cohesion by improving the feeling of safety for residents, as well as to tackle crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Activities like this are important as they build a sense of ownership in the area, getting kids involved in their community in a positive way.

By working together schemes like this will make sure that crime figures continue to fall, with crime falling by a third over the last five years and nearly 2000 fewer people being victims of crime last year.

Projects like this are part of Safe Newcastle’s ongoing commitment to ensuring Newcastle’s people live in a safe city.

Cllr Linda Hobson said:  “‘Newcastle is one of the safest cities in the UK, where cutting crime and protecting communities remains one of our top priorities. Its important that we work together with communities to provide effective and long term solutions. 

“Our plan looks at how we work at a local level  with local people to understand their issues, to make neighbourhoods even safer. Projects such as this one in Cowgate are a great example of how sometimes the simple answers are the best.”

Cowgate resident, Thomas Huntington, said:  “The boards are great and we’ve all really enjoyed getting involved and the kids love it. They’re really proud of them. They make a big difference as well.  Before it was horrible and shabby, now the whole area is looked after better and feels a lot safer.  

Chief Superintendent Calvert added: “Projects like this are vital in supporting the policing work we carry out in this area which has been having success in driving crime levels down.

“Improving how an area looks helps to raise the confidence people have in their area providing reassurance in the community. It highlights how we can work with residents and partners to make a difference in local communities.”