A successful bid for government cash to fund a ground-breaking community project in Waltham Abbey’s Ninefields estate has been approved.
Safer Streets funding
£338,000 Safer Streets funding, boosted by £169,000 match funding from Epping Forest District Council was announced this week.
The two-year project aims to improve the environment, safety and health and wellbeing of residents living in the Council’s Paternoster ward.
A survey with residents during the pandemic raised concerns about the local environment, particularly the appearance of green spaces and lack of amenities for young people.
Residents also flagged up a perception of increased drug taking and antisocial behaviour.
There is also a need to increase feelings of safety in terms of Violence Against Women and Girls and to further address anti-social behaviour in public places, and diversionary activities
As a result, the Council’s community resilience, Housing, Estates and Community, Culture and Wellbeing teams getting together with the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst’s team to make the bid to the Home Office.
Safe, Well and Secure community action days
The project kicks off this month with the first of a series of Safe, Well and Secure community action days delivered by Council services and partners including Essex Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, community groups, schools, and businesses.
Holly Whitbread, Cabinet member for Housing and Chair of the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership said:
This offers tremendous opportunities to boost community cohesion, foster a sense of ownership in the environment and help allay fears around safety issues and anti-social behaviour.
It is the first time the Council has attempted such a comprehensive, cross-service piece of work and the Government funding, alongside the Council’s own investment is very welcome.
This multi-agency “whole systems approach,” recognises that health and wellbeing is affected by a whole range of factors such as physical environment, crime and fear of crime and the Community Safety Partnership and the Council’s Community Resilience team already have a fine record of work in these areas.
The project builds on the Council’s ‘More than Bricks and Mortar’ improvement programme which champions a resident-led approach, working with local groups and individuals to update estate environments and create great places for the future.
Key to the Ninefields project is two play areas for younger and slightly older children with the aim of creating a more family friendly environment while increasing natural surveillance. This has the effect of deterring criminal activity by making potential offenders more visible.
The play area will feature heavily in health and wellbeing work by encouraging young people to be outdoors and develop an active lifestyle, reducing the rate of obesity among children – something that is prevalent in this ward.
Other features include:
- Improved signage and navigation to create a sense of community.
- Secure access to communal areas to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour and provide greater visibility.
- Installation of a CCTV system
- Community campaigns and clear-up events to deter fly-tipping
- Improvements to bin storage areas to reduce anti-social behaviour, vandalism, and burglary
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