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.