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PCC visits South Bristol

PCC Mark Shelford (middle) Inspector Stuart King (right) & Clive Gross (left)

Last Friday (8 March), PCC Mark Shelford visited different communities in south Bristol as part of his weekly engagement day.

The PCC started the day by visiting Re: Work, a social enterprise at the heart of Filwood (Knowle West). It supports the community with their day-to-day needs and helps young people struggling in mainstream education to get out into the world and learn new skills.

Clive Gross, Re: Work’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, said: “The organisation supports young offenders and young people aged 12-18 who are excluded from school or at risk of exclusion.”

They also work with young adults aged 18-25 in long term unemployment, through offering work experience in different sectors as well a volunteering opportunities for over 16s to help develop their confidence and skills to increase employment and training prospects. Each year they see on average thirty young people’s lives being transformed and about ten adults are helped into work, training, and volunteering.

Following this, the PCC met with Carol Casey, chair of the local residents association for a walkabout in the area. The Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Starr also joined them. Carol talked about the work of the multi-agency group which was set up to tackle anti-social behaviour and opportunities for young people. Carol showed the PCC a new CCTV camera recently installed on some of the hot spots for anti-social behaviour. They also visited Eagle House Community Association; a site were residents want the youth club to be reopened.

Carol Casey, PCC Mark Shelford, Inspector Chris Starr & Inspector Stuart King

The PCC also had the opportunity to visit St Barnabas Knowle West Church where he met with Revd Clive Hamilton and some of the church leaders. The church is one of the designated Welcome Spaces across Bristol. Revd Hamilton says its a safe space for all ages to meet for refreshments, warm drinks, food, fellowship on Thursdays. On Wednesdays, BS4 Foodbank works with South and East Bristol Foodbank and inHope Bristol. The church is also open for other referral support services.

After South Bristol, the PCC visited Tawfiq Masjid and Centre in Barton Hill where he met with some of the Muslim leaders. The leaders expressed concerns about the incidents of knife crime and youth violence and general safety of members of the community. The Muslim leaders said between 600-700 young people from across the city come to the Tawfiq Masjid and Centre every week. With Ramadan beginning, they expect more people and want the reassurance for the community through visibility of the local police. They also discussed employment and apprenticeship opportunities for young people within the police force.

The PCC ended the day by attending a Bristol One City Serious Youth Violence roundtable discussion in City Hall, Bristol City Council. In recent weeks, Bristol has experienced several serious youth violence incidents involving knives that have resulted in serious injuries and loss of lives. The meeting brought together strategic stakeholders to develop a collective understanding of the data available, the multi-agency landscape within the city (including pathway mapping and lived experience mapping), the actions being implemented and explore best practice within and beyond the city.

Commenting after the visit, PCC Mark Shelford said: “I had the pleasure of meeting with amazing community and faith leaders in south Bristol and in Barton Hill. Hearing from people who are taking extraordinary steps to support the most vulnerable people in the community and promote collaborative working to tackle some of the challenges eg anti-social behaviour, knife crime etc.”