Creating safer and stronger communities is an aim for many voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) in Newcastle. Promoting respect and understanding of diverse communities, well resourced local services and amenities, more local decision making and bringing together people from different cultures and generations are all ways identified by Newcastle VCOs of creating stronger communities. VCOs provide many different and varied activities that reduce social isolation, promote community cohesion, improve neighbourhoods and help new and existing communities to contribute to the life of the city.
Safe Newcastle is one of three partnerships that will continue in its current form following the changes to partnership arrangements in Newcastle. Safe Newcastle's aim is to create better lives and stronger communities by reducing crime, anti-social behaviour, alcohol misuse and the supply and use of drugs throughout the city. The Safe Newcastle Board includes two voluntary and community sector representatives in its membership. Other Safe Newcastle sub-partnerships also have VCO representation or involvement and the Safe Newcastle Stakeholder Forum gives VCOs the opportunity to get involved in Safe Newcastle.
Working with the criminal justice system to reduce reoffending conference - March 2013
Newcastle CVS’s reducing reoffending event on 7 March 2013 was funded through CLINKS and NAVCA Partnership for Innovation programme. The event was designed to explore the experience of voluntary and community organisations, (particularly those working in Newcastle upon Tyne), of delivering services to offenders or ex-offenders; their experience of partnership working and their relationship with public sector bodies commissioning offender management services
Speakers included Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Jan Kelly, Reducing Re-Offending and Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator for Safe Newcastle and Ian Robson, manager with Northern Learning Trust
Safe Newcastle Stakeholder Forum
Since 2010 Newcastle CVS and Safe Newcastle have jointly supported the Safe Newcastle Stakeholder Forum as a way for voluntary and community groups and other public or private sector stakeholders to find out about Safe Newcastle's strategies and activities and influence its future planning.
During October and November 2010 the Stakeholder Forum held a series of neighbourhood meetings around the city designed to find out the views of local community groups. Whilst attendance at the neighbourhood meetings was small a number of common themes did emerge
- There was recognition within the voluntary and community sector (VCS) of the pressures Safe Newcastle partners are facing due to public sector budget cuts and policy changes
- There was a desire from VCS groups to contribute at a variety of levels to Safe Newcastle priorities. The sector holds a great deal of intelligence about individual service users and whole communities and is looking to work with Safe Newcastle both as potential service providers but also as a source of local knowledge and provision to neighbourhood services
- Communication between VCS groups and other Safe Newcastle partners was an area of concern, especially public sector partners not providing feedback to groups on issues raised or information given
- Funding was a major concern and uncertainty about the future of specific funding streams to Safe Newcastle but also the provision of grant aid used to provide activities that have a positive impact on Safe Newcastle priorities, though not necessarily funded directly by Safe Newcastle