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Families welcome clean-up project

PUBLISHED: 17:54 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 July 2010

COMMUNITY ACTION: Residents, volunteers and council workers taking part in a clean up of Dorset Close, part of the

COMMUNITY ACTION: Residents, volunteers and council workers taking part in a clean up of Dorset Close, part of the

Dominic Bareham

A PROJECT to tackle anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues has been welcomed by residents of a Great Yarmouth housing estate.

The Middlegate Community Pride, Respect Action Week started on Monday, with the aim to improve life for people living on the estate by tidying up gardens and play areas and creating community facilities for them to use.

A PROJECT to tackle anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues has been welcomed by residents of a Great Yarmouth housing estate.

The Middlegate Community Pride, Respect Action Week started on Monday, with the aim to improve life for people living on the estate by tidying up gardens and play areas and creating community facilities for them to use.

Residents took part in many of the activities, particularly on Wednesday when they helped cut back an area of grass between flats in Dorset Close and clear away rubbish so it could be used as a play area by local children.

Nathan Copping, 19, of Sackville Close unwittingly stumbled across the work being carried out by teams from GYB Services when he went to meet up with friends at the Dorset Close play area, and agreed to help out.

He was optimistic the improvements would benefit his community because bored youngsters would have something to do rather than loiter on street corners or become involved in anti-social behaviour.

He added: “It is very important for little kids round this area because they have got nothing else to do and they often get into trouble. In the earlier days it was bad. It was just stupid, there was lots of trouble round here. Everybody was getting ASBOs because they did not have anywhere else to play.”

But Michael Bircham, 70, of Dorset Close, sounded a note of caution saying although he thought the scheme was a good idea, the council had ignored urgent repairs to gates and posts in other parts of the neighbourhood which would have helped tidy it up.

He was also sceptical about the likely impact on youngsters living on the estate.

Mr Bircham said: “It's always the same old story. The ones who join in will always join in, but the ones who won't, won't and you won't change these people.”

But Patricia Hinchliffe, 67, also of Dorset Close, was positive about the scheme.

She said: “I think it is a good idea because it will give the children somewhere to go and something to do. They have obviously been helping so I think it is a good idea to get them involved.”

A number of community organisations have been involved in the action week including Yarmouth Community Housing, Safer Neighbourhood Team, Voluntary Norfolk, SeaChange and Middlegate Community Association.

Robert Read, tenancy services manager with Yarmouth Community Housing, said representatives from the various agencies had surveyed residents in 600 homes in the area to see what issues were affecting them. The results showed fears over unemployment, health and young children's services.

As well as the clear-up, there is also due to be a youth art activities day today and free entry to the Tolhouse Museum in Tolhouse Street.

Mr Read said: “We are very aware of the broken windows idea that if you allow an area to fall into disrepair that can have a knock-on effect. So by maintaining the area better by having the children around we are hoping they will have a sense of ownership of the area as well.”

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