The Council’s Neighbourhood Partnership team have been working on a city wide civic awareness project to improve engagement in the local communities they work in.

The month long project started in November and involved a number of the Council’s Neighbourhood Officers. They visited local city schools to speak with School Council members to find out more about issues they face in their neighbourhoods so the team and councillors could address them.

As part of the project they visited:

Osmaston Primary School where over 40 pupils attended and had a number of questions for Councillor West, Chair of the Sinfin Neighbourhood Board, Jonathan Till, Neighbourhood Officer plus Greg Hunt, Derbyshire Police Inspector.

Gayton Primary School was attended by Councillor Sara Bolton, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding & Children and Young People plus Alex Wood, Derbyshire Police Sergeant. Again a number of questions were asked by the school council relating to the local area. The team were able to find solutions and ease any concerns they had.

Arboretum and Village Primary Schools, Jane Harrison, Neighbourhood Officer, attended the two schools along with the local Police Community Support Officer to discuss a variety of topics from fly tipping, parking and crime.

The project has been a real success and helped improve links with schools in the city, as well as giving local pupils a voice to address concerns in their neighbourhoods.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection, said: “The Council’s Neighbourhood Partnership team have put in some fantastic work on this city wide project. The children have been really engaged with the talks and have taken a keen interest in the work of the Neighbourhood team and Derbyshire Police in the area.”

On the project, Councillors Sara Bolton and Joanna West said: “It was really pleasing to see this city wide project provide a voice for school children. This work highlights how we can work best within the area and get children involved in helping their community. They showed a real enthusiasm for their neighbourhoods plus asked plenty of questions. They are a real credit to their schools.”

Mrs Wendy Baxter, Interim Head Teacher at Osmaston Primary School, said: “Thank you for enabling us to participate in the Civic Awareness Project.  I know that the children got a lot out of it and I have had lots of positive feedback from them.”

Alex Wood, SNT Sergeant, said: “I had a great time speaking with the students, listening to their concerns and giving advice about how the police can help them. The project is an excellent way of showing kids this age that we take pride in our local neighbourhoods and want to work with them to make these areas better. The pupils I spoke with had some really interesting ideas and I learned things about the region that would not usually be brought to my attention. It was clear to see that the school children had a real interest in their community and the enthusiasm for their local environment was visible in abundance.”