Everybody needs good neighbours: Street Associations across Bucks celebrating two years of success

Street associations across the county will celebrate two successful years of operation on Thursday July 4.

Helen Cavill (left) and Gareth Williams (right) celebrate two successful years of the street association scheme
Helen Cavill (left) and Gareth Williams (right) celebrate two successful years of the street association scheme

The good neighbour scheme launched pilot projects on July 4 two years ago - these have since helped tackle issues related to loneliness, social isolation and doorstep crime across Bucks.

More than 5,000 residents have been involved in schemes in the Quarrendon and Walton Court areas of Aylesbury and Princes Risborough here in Aylesbury Vale.

Similar schemes have also proved a success in other parts of the county - Hughenden, Chesham and Burnham.

As well as the thousands of residents involved the celebration at Missenden Abbey will also appreciate the work of the 326 volunteer Street Association members who keep the wheels of the project turning.

Guests will be able to enjoy afternoon tea while listening to a presentation about the results and statistics that have resulted from the good work Street Association members have been doing throughout the year.

The event also acts as a launch pad for a new season of training workshops covering scam awareness, exploitation of vulnerable residents by drug gangs, coping with domestic abuse, and support for people with dementia.

The six street association schemes were originally set up as trial schemes, run solely by neighbours with support from Bucks County Council.

The aim of the scheme was to recruit people in every road of an area or town and provide them with resources and free workshops to heighten awareness of issues such as doorstep crime, scams and domestic abuse and to increase the wellbeing and safety of the community.

Since the start of the scheme there have been more than 300 referrals to the county council's preventative services where street association members have identified vulnerable people who need extra support, and who might have slipped under the radar - a 30% increase.

Members have also reported to Trading Standards 28 cases of doorstep, mail and phone scams, which would not normally have been expected.

In that time, it's estimated that Trading Standards officers have intervened to stop more than £60,000 being scammed from vulnerable residents.

Gareth Williams, cabinet member for community engagement and public health said: "This scheme is doing exactly what it says on the tin, and its success is down to the overwhelming enthusiasm of residents who've got involved.

"Their commitment to restore community spirit, encourage their neighbours to look out for each other, and create communities where those who are vulnerable feel safe, is inspiring."

To find out more about starting a street association where you live e-mail [email protected] for an information pack.

Already this year 13 areas across Bucks have shown an interest in starting schemes including Selby Lane in Winslow.

Project lead Helen Cavill will be leading training sessions at Aylesbury Library which are open to all residents.

Next month there is a session about dementia awareness (lasting an hour) at 10am on July 17.

There is an awareness session about exploitation on November 14 from 2.30pm to 4pm and a scam awareness session on September 10 from 10.30am to 12noon. The scam session will also take place at Princes Risborough library on Monday July 15 at 2pm.