Housing association's mediation sessions resolve ASB
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Legal
antisocial behaviourImage: ASB via Shutterstock
Sovereign Housing Association's mediation sessions have managed to solve long-running anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues on a Newbury estate.
Tenants of the Cromwell Road estate, many of whom are elderly and have health problems, reported that children on the estate were jumping into their gardens, damaging property, kicking footballs at cars and windows and shouting abuse.
Though Sovereign, the police and community agencies tried to tackle the issue, the situation got worse.
Trying a different approach, the 35,000-home provider formed a partnership with West Berkshire Council youth services and the independent mediation service Resolve, leading to the organisation of two ‘Speakout’ events.
At the first event, the young people who were causing the ASB were encouraged to think about why they behaved as they did and how their behaviour affected others, and to express how they felt about what was happening.
An event for adults was then held at which both parents and neighbours put forward their views on the situation, and explained how they felt and how they would like others to behave towards them.
Sovereign is now working to provide more equipment in a play area, increased off-road parking and opportunities to get together and have fun, after several participants suggested how the area could be made a better place to live.
Tenant drop-in sessions are now held once a month, and activities for young people are being run – including a recent trip to London to see the Trooping of the Colour – with Sovereign giving financial help to families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take part.
Three families have also signed a good neighbourhood agreement, committing to treat others in the area with respect.
Sovereign’s housing officer, Norma Maggs, said: “Anti-social behaviour has dropped considerably since we got hold of the issue. We’ve avoided the possibility of tenancy enforcement action, and Jodie and I can spend our time working on other things. The parents realised we wanted to help, and they keep a better watch on their kids in return; there’s a mutual trust in place. If a child kicks a ball into someone’s garden now, they knock and politely ask for it back.”
Valerie Church, a resident of Cromwell Road, said: “Things have improved; there are no problems now. It’s much more settled, we don’t jump at every sound, whereas we could never really relax before. People are more sociable too, they say hello to each other. We know we can approach the parents if there’s a problem, explain what’s happened and they will deal with it.”