The local news is regularly concerned with these issues, but it is a rarity for communities to get involved to try and make a difference. It’s much easier to turn a blind eye and pretend it isn’t happening, we all do it, and therefore it doesn’t seem socially unacceptable not to do anything. This is why Leeds City Council is trying to make it easier to be involved by encouraging the local communities to take an active role through highlighting the consequences of our own and our neighbour’s actions. Around 50 years ago, communities were very close knit, with neighbours’ living out of each other’s pockets, taking pride in where they lived. When ever I think of those times I picture women with a hair nets and rollers, leaning over the fence with a fag in their hands gossiping about something and nothing. I’m not saying I want us to regress to the 1950’s, but whatever happened to connection? I think that one of the aims of this campaign is to tackle the behaviour issue and to actually get people to talk to one another again. Increasingly, anti-social behaviour is becoming a problem, especially around the younger generation in Leeds.
The ‘100 days of help’ hopes to reduce the fear of crime by actually getting communities actively involved in order to feel that they can make a difference, because, it is common knowledge that 40 people dedicated towards changing something will make a difference quicker than half as many.
Litter is also a major target area for the recent campaign, as this issue involves a vast majority of us. Dropping, any sort of litter including cigarette tabs on the street incurs a spot fine of £50. This zero tolerance policy was introduced early this year in a desperate attempt to get everyone to help and be involved in doing their bit for the city without spoiling it for everyone else. Other laws have been put into place from September 2004, such as organisations seen to be distributing flyers the city centre, Hyde Park and Headingley will face a fine. In order to combat these problems production and distribution of cigarette butt holders for smokers and gum disposal pockets are being provided along with new flyer recycling bins in the same areas.
The campaign wants to work with the people not against them, thus trying to create a sense of an ‘old fashioned’ community. Some say that going backwards isn’t the way forwards, but I bet this just might work.
Leeds City Council is eager to get the local communities of every street, every park, every school, every business, and every household involved in the HELP. In order to participate, to do your bit for your city, or for information contact the HELP campaign.
Tel: 0113 398 4760