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New scheme to build stronger community around Hughenden

Hughenden street association members

5:46am 17th February 2017

Eight villages in the Hughenden area have been chosen for a new pilot scheme to combat loneliness, isolation and fight doorstep scammers.

Each will have a community co-ordinator to rally local support, as well as a toolkit with training modules to teach locals about spotting doorstep crime.

Known as the Hughenden Street Association scheme, it's being backed backed by the parish, district and county councils along with Thames Valley Police.

It covers:

  • Great Kingshill
  • Naphill
  • Walter's Ash
  • Hughenden Valley
  • Widmer End
  • North Dean
  • Bryant's Bottom
  • Cryer's Hill

The scheme hopes to build a stronger sense of community by:

  • Encouraging residents to be 'nominated neighbours' to look out for older and more vulnerable people.
  • Working with the whole community to ensure everyone feels safe.
  • Directing people to the right organisations for support.

The villages, all in Hughenden parish, have been chosen because of the unusual age profile of their population.

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of people aged between 25 and 45 fell by a third and the number over 60 rose by 50%.

Senior Trading Standards Officer Chris Holden, one of the County Council's scheme co-ordinators, said they had seen crimes against the elderly increase significantly in the past 25 years. More than half of their criminal investigations are into frauds on people over 75.

"We want this scheme to make people feel safer and encourage neighbours to look out for one another, especially our more vulnerable residents"  

"Dementia plays an increasing role in susceptibility to doorstep crime and, sadly, proportions increase with an ageing population."

In the past two years seven doorstep scams were reported in Hughenden parish, but Chris emphasises that these figures represent the tip of a community crime iceberg, with "only one in 10 incidents ever reported".

"The hidden nature of doorstep scamming is clear, as is the likelihood of under-reporting within Hughenden, which is why the Street Association scheme is so important."

Pictured: Hughenden Street Association members

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