New Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator aims to cut crime and build stronger communities

Glyn Atkinson will work to extend Neighbourhood Watch schemes across Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding area.

Everybody needs good neighbours and a community champion is driving forward with a scheme that promotes a friendly spirit, cuts crime and encourages well-being in communities across North East Lincolnshire.

Glyn Atkinson is the area’s new Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator. Working in conjunction with Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire, (VANEL), he has a responsibility to support and promote the extension of the national scheme across the whole area.

For Glyn though it is not just a job – instead, it is a firm passion to build up communities, like they used to be.

He said: “This is not just about cutting crime as many people may think, instead it is about a return to the old-fashioned neighbourhood that we had in the 1950s and 60s.”

Experience has shown Glyn, his wife Elaine and neighbours in the Yarborough area of Grimsby that Neighbourhood Watch schemes really do work.

A scheme has existed in their area since 2008 – launched following an arson attack at a business within the community. While the households were not affected, the incident prompted a look at some of the local problems and how they could help themselves.

As a result, grants have been obtained to “gate” alleyways that used to provide escape routes for offenders and anti-social behaviour and crime has reduced almost to nil.

But Glyn said the group is much more than that.

He said: “We are there to look after vulnerable people, hold social events and help out. For example, last year we were all out clearing the snow and fetching and carrying for people who could not get out. We have regular social events too.”

Glyn recalled an occasion when some of his area’s older residents complained of youngsters kicking balls against house walls, causing a disturbance.

Instead of reprimanding the children, the Neighbourhood Watch group decided to bring the two generations together and organise a trip to Eden Camp in North Yorkshire.

Glyn said: “Building relationships is a two-way thing and that is why the initial problem arose. We took them all on the trip and they got to know each other, the issues stopped overnight and there is no trouble anymore.”

By trade, Glyn is a chartered safety practitioner and has that knowledge to support his new role. He regularly gives talks to communities about the benefit of forming Neighbourhood Watch groups and his aim is to increase the number in North East Lincolnshire from the 45 which currently exist.

“We all know that there is a lack of money and people do moan about that,” he said.

“But instead of moaning about problems with crime or anti-social behaviour in a particular area, there are steps everyone can take to help themselves.

“And in doing so, you are able to help others who are unable to help themselves – to help people to live their lives without pain and disruption from other people.”

VANEL is the host organisation for funds delivered to assist in Glyn’s role and in the support of Neighbourhood Watch groups.

For more information, contact Glyn directly by email to glyn@nelwatch.org.uk or call VANEL on 01472 231123