Words by Erdington Local editorial team
A community meeting is being organised to address the ‘issues of common concern’ across Erdington, and to show ‘the positive side of local government, policing, and Neighbourhood Watch’.
Set for 7pm on Tuesday 20 June at Six Ways Baptist Church – with teas and coffees to welcome attendees from 6.30pm – three key issues will be on the agenda: HMOs and exempt accommodation, how local police tackle low-level crime, and how the Neighbourhood Watch scheme helps build communities.
Those wishing to attend are invited to register for a free ticket by emailing the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supported by Neighbourhood Watch and Birmingham City Council, the event aims to show how ‘strong community breeds safe neighbourhoods’ and is open to residents from all wards in the constituency.
Speaking at the meeting will be senior officials from Birmingham City Council (BCC) – including Senior Housing Modernisation Manager, Collette Campbell, and Senior Enforcement Officer, James Fox.
With problem HMOs cited as a constant concern for many local residents, organisers want the meeting to help people better understand both the need and management of the prevalent social housing system – whilst having an opportunity to ask questions directly to Council officials who work on tackling the issues.
Crime will also be on the agenda, with Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil talking about initiatives from West Midlands Police that tackle the causes of criminality and anti-social behaviour.
Mr McNeil has previously spearheaded a campaign on Erdington High Street to address the roots of crime that keep people in the loop of reoffending, including many of the social and economic causes such as financial instability and substance abuse issues.
At the Strategic Policing Crime Board meeting in February, he told: “We radically reduced reoffending, we saved retailers on Erdington High Street hundreds of thousands of pounds, and we reduced victimisation. But the job is not finished there and we need retailers to really buy into this…
“There are seeds of hope there, with programmes that really work. Because even with an improved police response you absolutely cannot police your way out of all of this. So, we need these high quality rehabilitation programmes.”
Rounding off the guest speakers will be Reg Banks from Neighbourhood Watch West Midlands, explaining how the long established national network can be an effective way to support communities on a local level.
Neighbourhood Watch UK was founded over 40 years ago and is the largest voluntary crime prevention movement in England and Wales, with over 2.3 million local members.
Further speakers from the Council and West Midlands Police have been invited, and Erdington Local will be publishing a follow up article online with the full list of those who confirm their attendance.
Roger O’Kelly, coordinator of the meeting and an extensive local Neighbourhood Watch group, told Erdington Local: “I feel Erdington needed a forum to discuss certain issues of common concern.
“The purpose of our meeting is to bring a clear understanding of three particular issues that affect the local community: how HMOs with the exemption model work; the challenges police face with low-level crime; and how Neighbourhood Watch is uniting communities through networks.
“We believe that strong communities create safe neighbourhoods. That means shifting the mindset of neighbourhood concerns to one of an open-hearted and joined-up community that seeks to appreciate local challenges and how they are being met.”
Anyone wishing to attend the 20 June meeting can register for their free place by emailing: email@example.com – or turn to the back page for more information from the organisers.