To raise funds for and install a multi use games area (MUGA) as the second phase of the Knottingley Community Partnership Project. The partnership aims to provide children and young people with a safe place to play and reduce anti-social.
Charlie Banks, Community Police Constable for West Yorkshire’s Knottingley and Ferrybridge formed partnership which is a group of companies, including play equipment company Sutcliffe Play, Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) and Knottingley based Ardagh Group to work in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Council to combat anti-social behaviour in the area.
Charlie comments: “The POD shelter we installed on the Ferrybridge estate in May 2011 has had a phenomenal impact on the area and has contributed to a 60% reduction in anti-social behaviour calls and I believe the multi-use games area installed on the Warwick Estate can have an even greater impact.
“A major cause of anti-social behaviour calls are because children are playing in the wrong places and causing problems for businesses and residents. The MUGA gives them a safe place to play benefiting the whole community, not just the children that use it!”
Yvette Cooper MP said: “The work by PC Charlie Banks and the Knottingley Community Project Partnership to get local businesses to provide these facilities is brilliant. It just shows how good neighbourhood policing is about preventing crime as well as catching criminals. The police told me that anti-social behaviour calls in the area have more than halved since they’ve given young people somewhere to go. That’s good for young people, but good for the rest of the community too.”
Father Edward, vicar of St Andrew’s Church, Ferrybridge, said: “I was very surprised when the idea for a play shelter on Ferrybridge Park came up. But the reality is that it gives children somewhere to go, somewhere to call their own, where they are safe and aren’t at threat of being shouted at or told to move on. It avoids the inter-generational conflict and has been a fantastic addition to the community.”
Resident Mr Paul Hansom, shares the belief that the new play equipment has done nothing but good for the residents’ quality of life.
He said: “Older people used to be scared to walk to the shops because kids congregated around there. In a gang they would be boisterous and it scared older folk, even though the youngsters were not directing any comments at them.
“But now they have their own place to go it is really quiet. We have meetings with PC Charlie Banks and his team regularly and where there was once a regular attendance of about 30 people, it is often less than half of that number now because things have changed so much for the better.”
Charlie concludes: “I’m delighted with the results of the project so far, I’ve even had other police forces approaching me to ask for advice on how we’ve managed it. I’m confident if similar schemes were rolled out across the country they would achieve the same results.”
Design & Build
Charlie worked closely with the local residents and children to identify the play equipment they wanted and the location that would serve the community best.
The multi-use games area was officially opened by PC Banks and Yvette Cooper MP in April 2012.