Project Solace – A positive step for Gloucester

Project Solace is a initiative to reduce/eliminate anti social behaviour within Gloucester.  It is a multi-agency unit and we have had the pleasure of Emily Jones giving a presentation to the Kingsway residents at the last KRA public meeting.  Solace is mainly focused at those tenants of private landlords and those people whoa re not covered by other housing associations.

They have decided to use Kingsway as a “model” or “trial” about how to best use/deploy the assets that they have.

I attended a meeting today that Solace chairs which included all the housing associations as well as other stakeholders that are vital, such as police, Neighbourhood watch and the various representatives from the council.

Through the meeting I got the feeling that everybody was there for all the right reasons and they had the best interests of Kingsway at heart.  I had/have 2 main criticisms which struck me, firstly that this group has been around for a while, and this seems to be the first time they have actually interacted with residents, and secondly that they don’t seem to talk outside the group.

However, that is minor really, as I think that their enthusiasm and wanting to improve the situation is something that we should embrace.

Anti Social Behaviour is something that is boundless in definition and because of that, it has such a wide remit.  Some would say that we need to toughen up the definition, but to me that just ducks the problem.  We have problems, not just in Kingsway, but all over, that people have stepped back from talking to neighbours and people they see on the street and handing the problem over to the authorities as a first step instead of a last step.

For me, the bigger question is how do we encourage community spirit and discussion, especially when you get new builds like Kingsway, or just communities that have become increasingly insular.  Project Solace is a great idea for the current problem and will have a great effect on the number of ASB cases, but in many ways its a damning indictment of where we have come to as a populace that we can not sort a good majority of these problems between us.

 


2 Comments so far:

  1. Gloucester Guy says:

    It sounds as though the views youre advocating here are very similar to the Government’s Big Society policy?

    Surely people trying to solve their problems themselves in a communitarian way rather than simply throwing their taxes towards the buerocracy and expecting their problems to be solved, is a perfect example of the communitarian or big society approach being advocated by the Coalition?

  2. bazkirby says:

    Similar yes, but then Localism is nothing really new. The Big Society policy is all about removing support for actual services, IE libraries and Youth services, NHS etc and forcing people to step up and run them. The issue there is that the people who would normally do this are either doing it already, or are full time employed, or both, so don’t t have the time. WHich is why we currently employ people who are skilled and professional and do the job properly and not as a hobby.

    What I am trying to say in my post is that we as a society have forgotton how to talk to neighbours we don’t know and don’t make much effort. I think this is a product of the age we live in, in that people have much wider networks of friends and being able to travel and talk is much easier than developing the new friendships/relationships.

    This has the fall out that if we have problems, then we don;t really knwo the people, therefore do not want to approach them. We will turn to the advertised routes of reporting it through official channels instead of just knocking on the door and trying to sort it as the first step.

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