PCC Mark Shelford met with some local councillors and visited community groups in Bristol last Friday (2nd February) to listen to their policing, safety, and crime concerns. And to hear about how they were supporting people in the community.
The PCC started the day with a meeting at St Pauls Learning Centre, where he met with Ashley Ward Councillors,Tym Wye and Jude English, Neighbourhood Police officers Acting Police Sergeant for St Pauls, Charles Mileham, PCSO Supervisor, Lee Stevens, Bristol City Council Community Development Officer April Richmond, University of Bristol Student Union Living Officer, Izzy Russell and St Pauls Learning Centre Manager, Gem Burgoyne. They discussed about anti-social behaviour, safety issues, young people carrying knives and drug dealing concerns. Gem raised a recent incident at St Pauls Learning Centre which causes great concern. The incident involved a male following a member of staff after work. Gem says they reported the incident to the police. Police Officers confirmed they were aware of the incident and that they were investigating the matter.
Tatianna Powell and Dayton Powell from EOTOUK also later joined the meeting. Tatianna says EOTOUK was set up to address the concerning issues of gangs, crime, violence, and deprivation among young people, with a specific focus on the challenges faced by young black men and women in Bristol. They facilitate and co-ordinate workshops and seminars for young people and youth provision services.
Following this, the PCC visited Southmead Project, an organisation which provide free counselling and support for survivors of abuse and addiction across Bristol and surrounding areas. The PCC meet with Emma Bull, Acting Chief Executive officer and Pete Wraith, Head of Finance, Southmead Project. Emma says there is high demand for service, but making the organisation sustainable is a constant challenge.
Commenting on the project, PCC Mark Shelford says: There are a lot of fragile people out there, and the service provided by Southmead Project is important to make communities resilient.”
The PCC completed the day by visiting Ambition Lawrence Weston– an award-winning resident-driven organisation which works to make Lawrence Weston an even better place to live and work. The PCC meet with Mark Pepper, Development Manager at Ambition Lawrence Weston. Mark is responsible for the overall running of the organisation. Mark Pepper says Ambition Lawrence West, set up by residents in 2012 has transformed the community and area through involved in infrastructure development, eco-projects eg they have a wind turbine, solar panel farm.
They sought planning permission, and an ALDI supermarket has opened in the area which gives residents access to quality and sustainable jobs, services, and priced food stuffs. Among many of the organisation’s successes was stopping Lawrence Weston Youth Centre from closure and developed it into a vibrant community resource.
However, despite all the work to bring the community together and make the area safe to live and work, Mark Pepper says the community has great concerns with shoplifting particularly in the Cooperative supermarket, anti-social behaviour in most cases caused by young people and this makes the community feel unsafe. To address some of the issues within the neighbourhood, they support a number of smaller groups (Henacre, Parent and Practitioner group) and individual residents.