Plea for younger members to join Neighbourhood Watch

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A PUSH for younger members in the Rugby area and more communities to get involved with Neighbourhood and Home Watch was launched today as the group moved to update its curtain-twitching image.

In a bid to attract new members the national body representing Neighbourhood and Home Watch (NHW) groups unveiled their plans for appealing to a new generation of members, to mark the start of Neighbourhood and Home Watch Week.

One central element to the Network’s plans to be more transparent and engage with a new audience is the launch of their online resource, www.ourwatch.org.uk.

The new website has been developed tion hub filled with campaign ideas, posters, advice guides and case studies.

To complement this drive to improve integratioas a communican, a new Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification to train a new generation of volunteers is set to begin this week.

The week long campaign also marks a new era for the movement in working with the private sector to help support the movement’s ambitious plans. Towergate Insurance who is Europe’s largest independently owned insurance intermediary have been named as the Network’s primary sponsor.

Jim Maddan, Chair of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network, said: “While anti-social behaviour and other crimes remain a serious concern for local communities, groups like Neighbourhood Watch which act as a collective voice for safer neighbourhoods are needed more than ever.

“I want to congratulate the great work already achieved by NHW coordinators and volunteers across the country. But we know younger people think we’re just curtain-twitchers, so today we’re embracing new ways of bringing communities together. That means keeping people safe and informed using Facebook and Twitter as well as tried and tested methods. The website uses state of the art mapping, messaging and reporting facilities which are free for coordinators and NHW organisations to use and make modern methods of organisation, marketing and social networking easy for grass roots members to access.

“We all have the right to feel safe where we live which is why we want to see more young members and diverse communities taking joint responsibility to make their neighbourhoods safer.”

Minister for Crime Prevention and Anti-social Behaviour Reduction Baroness Browning said: “Neighbourhood Watch is a great example of how communities can come together to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and make our streets safer.

“But it’s important we keep this movement alive by encouraging new and more diverse membership, as well as embracing new and different ways of communicating.

“We know people lead busy lives and it is not always easy to spare the time to attend a regular meeting or get involved all of the time. That is how the new website can help. By logging on people can keep up to date with what is going on in their area, as well this it can help groups to keep in touch and share information online.”

David Kester, CEO of the Design Council said: “The new online Neighbourhood Watch services are a great example of the Design Out Crime programme at work. Local communities, policy makers, and the police have worked with designers to innovate and combat crime. The Design Council is delighted to have supported the project and congratulates the Home Office and the teams for re-thinking this important public service.”