In Summer 2017, we were called to work with an issue of street drinkers in a park in Southchurch. Local residents and staff had concerns that people drinking in the park was affecting the wildlife, causing mess and driving the local community out of the park. This had escalated and evidence of drug use and prostitution was beginning to appear.
We spoke to all parties involved, including council staff, local shop owners, residents and those who regularly used the park to drink in. We invited them all to a community justice panel, which we held in the park itself. 19 people attended to discuss the issues and an action plan was created.
6 months later, we received the following feedback from a resident.
“I have to tell you that you would not recognise Southchurch Hall Gardens, we only now get the lone drinker from time to time. The duck families have started to return to the pond and people are seen daily happily strolling around the park, from dog walkers to whole families even in the middle of this very cold winter.
The volume of our weekly litter picks has reduced from 6 full sacks on first pick [Jan 2017] to half a sack today, the contents has also changed as we rarely pick condoms, drug bags or vodka bottles.
The council have also done a lot of work with yet more to be done and of course the police are still working closely with us.
I can’t thank you enough for your very positive input, we get some wonderful feedback from people, thanking us and one person saying that the park has not been this inviting for years. It has also been suggested by a councillor that they might use it for walking talking council sessions with clients. Lots of positive stuff ahead”