Press Too Heavy On Southmead

By Councillor Helen Godwin

It has been a difficult summer for Southmead Residents after the series of disturbances around Glencoyne Square: arson, burned out vehicles, criminal damage, and some intimidation. As we saw, the press soon picked up on the events and Southmead made headline news for all the wrong reasons.

Personally, I felt the press went ‘too heavy’ on the story and didn’t give a rounded picture of Southmead. It was great to hear Resident Deana Perry on BBC Radio Bristol telling the world what a strong, determined and caring community we have.

We all know how lucky we are to have such wonderful community activists and the recent issues have highlighted the strength of our community. James Creed, our specialist youth worker, has been determined to make sure that we understand what is driving disruptive behaviour and is working hard to connect with young people. My role as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People means I am all too aware of the funding cuts to youth services across the city due to austerity from Westminster; we all need to work hard to make sure Southmead is a safe and welcoming place to live for all generations.

Since the trouble, Cllr Brenda Massey and I have met with Residents and Avon & Somerset Police to understand the best way forward. We had a great meeting with Sergeant Rob Cheeseman who, along with our own PC Lee Patterson, talked through some of the measures the police have taken in the last month to keep Southmead a safe place to work and live. These include:

A renewed commitment to a long-term presence in Southmead following the closure of Southmead Police Station. Brenda and I are in constant contact to ensure that the police make positive steps to ensure there is a station in Southmead.
Ensuring there are more patrols and police vehicles in the Southmead area through all shifts, you may have already noticed there are more police cars than before on the estate.
We are also working with the Council to ensure that the CCTV cameras are working to monitor the Square.

We’ll keep you up-dated as things progress and it’s worth remembering that behind the headlines Southmead is still full of good stories, good people, and good ideas to improve our community.

(originally printed in The Mead October 2017, issue 47)