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Stepping in the right direction

Changing Lives

PCC Sue Mountstevens with representatives from Changing Lives Charity

Encouraging vulnerable communities to take steps in the right direction was the focus of Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens most recent visit to North Somerset.

On Monday (24 June), the PCC met with Somewhere To Go Day Centre Manager Joan Eales in Weston-super-Mare. The centre offers a warm and welcoming, safe place for rough sleepers and disadvantaged, vulnerable adults to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week. Alongside offering free breakfast and lunch for only £1, the team serve over 40 meals a day to ensure that no-one ever goes hungry.

Local organisations, from Addaction to the Council Housing Advice Team, are invited to the day centre to provide additional advice to those who attend to provide the most positive outcome possible.

The PCC then met with Key Steps, an organisation that helps local homeless people across North Somerset into suitable accommodation and into private rental with their Bonds system. Manager Maggie Lyons explained that their Bonds act as a rent deposit, enabling clients to obtain a key to their own front door. Although housing is often one of the only problems that their clients are facing, they now have an impressive sign-posting service to support their clients in as many other areas as possible.

Following this, the PCC visited Ray Wilson and the team at Changing Lives Charity in Clevedon. Their shops in Clevedon, Nailsea, Weston and Henbury raise funds to provide training and volunteering opportunities for those who struggle to get into paid employment due to addiction, poor education or leaving the care or criminal justice systems. These funds also go towards Andrew House, owned by Changing Lives and run by Alabare, who provide support for up to 11 men recovering from substance misuse.

Speaking after the meetings, PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It’s fantastic to see the work that local organisations, like Somewhere To Go, are doing to support the most vulnerable people in our communities. I appreciate hearing about the issues that vulnerable communities face so that I can understand these issues and see what is required to make communities safer and stronger.”

To end the day, the PCC held a public drop-in session at Clevedon Library. She was joined by members of the local neighbourhood policing team to take people’s questions about local policing.

During the session, attendees raised concerns about speeding, anti-social behaviour and how to apply for neighbourhood watch. Local people were advised to report concerns to their local policing teams and if they find themselves in an emergency, to always call 999. Residents were also advised on how to join neighbourhood watch in the area.

At the end of the day, PCC Sue Mountstevens added: “I would always encourage local people to come along to these sessions to talk to me about their worries in their local area, no matter how big or small they may perceive the issue to be. It’s really important for me to hear about the issues that local people face, it is only by listening to local people that I can be their voice in policing.

Find out more about the organisations the PCC visited here:

Somewhere To Go

Key Steps

Changing Lives Charity

Posted on Wednesday 26th June 2019
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