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Oct 03 2013

New Council Leader calls for a Neighbourhood Champion on every street

susan_hall_leaderHarrow’s new Council Leader, Cllr Susan Hall (pictured) praised an audience of 300 neighbourhood volunteers on Tuesday evening (October 1) and called for the Neighbourhood Champions project to be rolled out to every street. In her first keynote speech, Cllr Hall outlined plans to encourage people to become more active in looking after their street and help expand the current base of 900 Neighbourhood Champions.

The army of volunteers offer a unique partnership with Harrow Council where they report everyday street level nuisances such as litter and graffiti and low-level crime including fly-tipping, vandalism, potholes, illegal street trading and anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Hall said:  “Our Neighbourhood Champions are uniquely positioned because they know their local area better than anyone else, and by working together we can make Harrow a fairer, cleaner and safer place. It is vital our street services are as efficient and effective as possible, and our Neighbourhood Champions give us the intelligence to respond to issues quickly and, in many cases, nip them in the bud before they become a bigger burden on the council tax payer.

She continued: “Unfortunately, the Neighbourhood Champions scheme has been sidelined over the last three years – seeing its numbers decline by around a quarter. I am absolutely determined to reverse that trend and reinvigorate the scheme for the benefit of Harrow’s residents.”

The Neighbourhood Champions conference takes places once every year, allowing residents to share their views and ask questions to Councillors, senior council officers, police officers and meet with other Neighbourhood Champions in the borough.

For more information or if you would like to become a Neighbourhood Champion email neighbourhoodchampions@harrow.gov.uk

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7 comments

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  1. Praxis Reform

    I’m sure these people are all well meaning and good hearted, but why aren’t the PCSOs that were told spend ages patrolling the streets reporting fly-tipping, vandalism, potholes, illegal street trading and anti-social behaviour?

    They’re getting paid to walk the streets, so it wouldn’t be a huge hardship for them to make a quick phone call or keep a brief note when they come across a vandalized bus shelter, or a dumped mattress, etc.

  2. Susan Hall

    They do, we are very lucky in Harrow our Police are fantastic. However there are 900 Neighbourhood Champions at the moment and I intend to get to 2,068 – you would never, ever, be able to afford one PCSO for every street – this is the beauty of this scheme. Our Champions also report anything they are concerned about to the Police much as the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme used to and are on hand many hours, 7 days a week. Praxis Reform, I urge you to join and then I can meet you as I intend to be at every training session going forward! It would be great to know who all the respondents are on this site, so many are invisible behind their blog names.

  3. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Ah but there lies the rub! If Praxis joined, he would lose his anonymity…

  4. Susan Hall

    Oh dear Will, at least you and I are prepared to stand up and be counted even if our comments do not always please everyone.

    1. Harrow Dude

      Whilst the idea of Neighbourhood Champions sounds good but the numbers have always been some what vague are the current 900 all trained or does this figure represent those who have shown an interest because it seems we’ve been here before with a certain council officer spouting figures of 1200 which was incorrect when you took into account the amount of Neighbourhood Champions that were actually trained.

      Again saying you intend to get this figure to 2,068 (one for every street) sounds very good, but can you identify whether the NC you have now actually have any impact on how the council responds to complaints. Can you supply figures on how many complaints to Access Harrow are from NC and how many from regular residents and also how many incidents, complaints, concerns etc. are duplicated and reported by both. How much has this scheme cost so far and how much will it cost to reach your intended figure and reinvigorate the scheme. I would suggest that residents would be more than willing to report problems themselves if they could rely on a prompt response from the council.

      Also could you inform me how apart from going for a fly around Harrow you intend to deal with the ‘sheds in beds’ epidemic?

  5. Praxis Reform

    Under English law, you are allowed to call yourself whatever you like – the only proviso being that you are not allowed to change your name for fraudulent purposes.

  6. Susan Hall

    Harrow Dude – I am looking into those figures re the Neighbourhood Champions myself as they have not been given any real prominence over the past 3 years and I intend to address that. Neighbourhood Champions are very special individuals, they dont just report they engage on a different level and I am very grateful to them all. So please give me some time to confirm the figures. I know there are at least 50 people waiting for training and I am hoping more apply.

    With regard to the ‘beds in sheds’ issue I have a meeting tomorrow to decide the way forward with partners like the Fire Brigade and the Police, both the Borough Comanders Richard Claydon and Simon Ovens are attending the meeting along with senior Council Officers. I am sure if you keep an eye on this iharrow site you will be informed as we go forward. I am excited about the scheme as I think this issue is a real problem in our Borough.

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