MEDIA RELEASE - Woodberry community came out in force.

Jenny Aitchison, Member for Maitland, has praised the local community of Woodberry for their constructive and positive response to a meeting she hosted on Tuesday to address anti-social behaviour that has been occurring in the suburb in recent weeks.

After reports from a number of residents, Ms Aitchison called a meeting with residents who had contacted her. The meeting was attended by Police including the Central Hunter Command’s new Crime Manager George Radmore, Representatives of the Maitland Neighbourhood Centre, Woodberry Family Centre, Department of Family and Community Services, Beresfield & Tarro Neighbourhood Watch, Headspace, local schools, clergy, Maitland City Council staff, as well as community leaders. Over seventy residents attended the meeting, far exceeding expectations.

It was a positive discussion and Ms Aitchison undertook to prepare a list of suggestions raised across a broad range of areas. Some of the initiatives raised were:

  • Clarifying the most effective way to contact police to report crimes;

  • Increasing the number of programs to engage children and young people in the area;

  • Ensuring that all community members report crimes, not just leaving it to the regular reporters;

  • Collecting evidence of crimes being committed

  • Mentoring programs for students

  • PCYC Outreach into the community

  • Participating more in Neighbourhood Watch

  • Mentoring Community Leaders

Ms Aitchison committed to holding an evening meeting in the near future to report on progress and hear of any ongoing issues. Ms Aitchison urged all members of the community to continue reporting crime, and invited them to contact her office if they could not get a response on any of the police phone numbers. Ms Aitchison will be attending the 2322 Community Service Meeting next week to report on the meeting.

Quotes attributable to Member for Maitland and Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

“I was inspired to see so many people come along to the Woodberry meeting with such constructive and positive ideas for improving the lives of everyone in their community.”

“I called the meeting, but it was the response from the community, the police, the service providers which show the real potential we have for change here. I backed them, but they backed themselves. That’s when communities start getting better.”

“We need responses from Government beyond the usual law and order approach. We need to change the culture through early intervention and providing pathways to success for children and young people in our communities. We need programs that run for the long haul. I’m going to work to make sure we get that."

“Reporting crime is important too, the statistics need to be a true reflection of what is happening in the community. This is the only way we will be successful in arguing for increased police resources and more importantly, the more comprehensive and long term social services we need to build a strong community.”

“I want to pay tribute to people like Maureen Wright, Cynthia Baldwin, Naomi Rees, Jenny Fullford, Uncle Leon Hammond, Aunty Dawn Field, Jo Gearing, Jo Stamos, Cheryl Taggart, Father Duncan, Lloyd Frith and the many other community leaders in the 2322 postcode who have been so supportive of everyone in the community over such a long period of time.”

“I am looking forward to working with the community and service providers to identify and advocate for positive strategies to provide the best support for the community living in Woodberry.

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