South Shields residents create forum to help tackle crime and improve their community
Residents in South Shields have launched a new online forum in a bid to connect with each other and improve their community.
A new group for residents living in the Biddick and All Saints, Harton, Simonside, Cleadon Park, Beacon and Bents, Westoe, Horsley Hill and Whiteleas areas is aiming to tackle antisocial behaviour and promote the town.
Concerned residents held a community meeting to discuss crime in the Whiteleas area on January 31, attended by MP Emma Lewell-Buck and representatives from Northumbria Police.
It highlighted a spate of anti-social behaviour and people reporting that they felt “out of the loop” which led to Boldon Lane resident Andrew Guy setting up the South Shields Residents Facebook group.
More than 400 residents have joined already including leaders of community groups, organisations and local councillors.
“Modern day communities are gone, people spend more time in front of the TV,” said the 25-year-old.
“The group was born from an idea to support people by connecting them with other residents and organisations.”
Joanne Welsh, who has lived in Whiteleas for 17 years agrees, she added: “Social media plays a big part.
“We’re trying to turn the technology on its head and use it to develop the community again.”
The group will be a one-stop-shop for people to access organisations, share events and campaigns, as well as raising awareness of any issues with crime or antisocial behaviour they may be experiencing.
“We’re not working against the police, we want to play our part,” said Andrew.
“We want to work with local councillors and the police to ensure everybody is heard.
“Services are struggling and this is when communities need to pull together.”
It is hoped the group will also help tackle environmental issues such as littering and may lead to more regular neighbourhood meetings.
“Nobody goes out and picks rubbish up anymore, they expect someone else to do it and that’s what we're trying to change,” Andrew continued.
“Naming and shaming or fining people doesn't work, we want to take a completely different approach, highlighting the area to encourage people to take pride in their surroundings again.”