Letter from CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network
Neighbourhood Watch Network
WG07, Vox Studios
1 – 45 Durham Street
5th February 2021
Dear Neighbourhood Watch Association Leads,
Even though we are in the middle of the third lockdown and many people are really struggling with the isolation, boredom and winter weather there is clearly great progress being made in the UK vaccination programme. We are all hopeful that this will provide a way out of the pandemic and a return to a more ordinary way of life. There are clearly further challenges with Covid variants, etc.but many people are seeing light at the end of the tunnel although this is still some way off.
Local Neighbourhood Watch schemes and Associations continue to be very active in passing on vital information about the ever-changing scams that are so prevalent at the moment. There has been a significant increase in scams being reported, both connected to the Covid pandemic concerning testing, vaccines, etc, as well asromance fraud and other scams. Local schemes have continued to support more vulnerable and isolated members of their communities and the Central Support Team are keen to hear from any schemes and Associations on their work at present.
The Neighbourhood Watch Community Grant Programme that schemes and Associations have been applying to has been working very well, with over £4,000 distributed so far to develop work and projects across England. We have had no applications from Wales so far, so urge those Associations and schemes to apply. The applications are assessed within 6 weeks and we would encourage any schemes or Associations who have a project or activity they want to develop and deliver to visit the website for all details, guidelines and how to apply: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/communitygrants.
You will have seen the exciting ‘Croods 2’ campaign we are currently running, in partnership with Coop Insurance and Universal Studios, with a competition for children to design a treehouse for their community. Universal will then arrange for the winning entry to be built in the nearest Wildlife Trust site. The feedback from younger people, families and non-members has been extremely positive, with lots of likes and shares on social media, and particular praise for the fun temporary logo. Feedback from members has also been positive, however there has been a small number of members who have questioned either the partnership or the relevance of the campaign. As you know, the importance of Neighbourhood Watch attracting new and younger members and supporters, and being seen as attractive and relevant, is vital to the sustainability of the movement. This campaign is one strand of that process and is certainly raising awareness of Neighbourhood Watch with a new audience who we can continue to develop centrally and locally into the supporters and members of the future.
Our next crime prevention campaign will be launched at the end of March and will focus on theft from, and theft of, motor vehicles. We are currently working with our media agency, TMW, who have developed our previous campaigns and will be targeting the campaign at car crime hotspots and non-members. We are working on the campaign now, so we will share the materials with Associations in good time so that you have time to prepare your local support, as requested.
The first round of this year’s Association Leads video calls with Ian Bretman took place last week and there has been very positive feedback on the format and content. As mentioned on the calls, we will be inviting Associations and members to present sections at these forums on subjects such as: good practice; projects; overcoming challenges; and anything else you want to discuss, as well as updating on the progress of the 5-Year Strategy, campaigns, projects, and any other important issues. On the calls, Ian Bretman and Rebecca Bryant presented the purpose and value of the new People, Culture and Ethics Committee, which Rebecca has agreed to Chair. This Committee will look at how we can increase diversity and inclusion across the organisation, attract new people from all communities, and explore how we can work differently withincommunities in ways that suit them. This is a central strand of the 5-Year Strategy and will support the movement engaging new and younger people, as well as Neighbourhood Watch’s current membership. It is vital we have Association Leads and members on the Committee, to ensure your views and ideas are at the core of the work being undertaken. We have already had some Leads wanting to join but if any of you or people you know of in your Associations are interested, please contact Cheryl asap at: Cheryl.Spruce@ourwatch.org.uk.
The continuing work to develop our website has reached a point that we are now ready to develop the Association pages and, as you may be aware, this were piloted by a handful of Associations. We would like to provide this opportunity to Associations who would like information about their area added to the site to please contact Deborah Waller at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable anyone browsing the site to find information about their Association, about the work they are doing, and any other local information which might be relevant.
Our new staff member, Esther Ardagh-Ptolomey, started on Monday on a a 6-month contract as the Volunteer Development Manager, for which we received funding from the National LotteryEmergency Covid-19 Response Grant. She comes with a wealth of experience in volunteer-led organisations and will be working with you all to develop the Volunteer Programme for the organisation,which will include training, support, role development, and resources. We are actively seeking continuation funding for the role, as we are well aware that the Volunteer Programme is an absolutely vital part of the 5-Year Strategy and will take several years to develop, implement and embed into the organisation. One of the first pieces of work will be to develop a straightforward guide to the volunteering opportunities locally, centrally and jointly at Neighbourhood Watch, as requested during the Association Lead calls. If you want to contact Esther, you can contact her at esther.Ardagh-Ptolomey@ourwatch.org.uk.
As we begin the work of this year, the Central Support Team is excited to work with you to deliver the strategy and build on the work of last year, developing and expanding the Neighbourhood Watch movement. As always, please let us know what is happening locally with projects and events, share this letter with your Coordinators, members and partners, and I look forward to seeing you in person at some point in the next year.
CEO Neighbourhood Watch Network