Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Meet the staff: Wendy

My name is Wendy and I’m the Young Persons Development Worker at Healthy Valleys. I’ve worked here since 2007. Today I attended the Clydesdale Problem Solving Group (PSG), which I have been a member of for the past 4 years or so. It’s a multi agency group, chaired by South Lanarkshire Council Housing Resources. The aim is to have a shared understanding of what anti social behaviour is and work together to tackle it. We meet every 6 weeks and deal with a wide range of issues, agreeing priorities and joint operational planning.

Around the table are people from a wide variety of agencies. Today we had Police Scotland, Social Work Resources, Anti Social Behaviour Team, COVEY Befriending, Youth Learning Services, NHS Lanarkshire, The Hope Café, Rural Regeneration Services and of course Healthy Valleys. Apologies came from some regular participants including the Fire Brigade and Blue Triangle.

The issues and hotspots we discuss and try to come up with solutions to vary over time. From cold calling on the elderly and rogue traders to traffic accident blackspots, dog fouling, drug dealing, fire setting, abandoned buildings, public drinking, youth disorder. These things happen in villages all across Clydesdale, but there are often hotspot areas which we need to look closer at to come up with solutions. For example Smyllum residents were very upset about the amount of dog fouling. The Problem Solving Group helped them identify a potential solution and get funding to start their Green Dog Walkers scheme in the area.
Some good news updates from partnership working were demonstrated at the meeting – a man in recovery from mental ill health got involved in a project funded by the PSG. He is now volunteering with another community group and looking to get back into employment as a result. Healthy Valleys’ Beauty Inside Out project was funded by PSG. That evening some of our young people were providing a pamper night to young people from one of the other groups at the meeting. Great evidence of partnership working, community capacity building and community connectedness. Good job well done to all of us.

Over the past few years, a clear pattern has been emerging of less street disorder and less youth disorder being reported. Pat on the back all round then? Well not quite. As these things have lessened, others have risen. For example neighbour disputes and domestic violence. These often happen in relative privacy, behind closed doors and don’t make it to the Lanark Gazette court round up.

Over the past few meetings I have raised issues around mental health and young people. There have been 2 suicides of young people from our area in the past 6 months and increasingly young people are referred to our Time Out project because of anxiety, stress and self harm. As a result of these discussions with partners, a new Rural Suicide Prevention working group has been established, chaired by Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health.

In my opinion, the Problem Solving Group is a great example of the partnership working we get involved in here at Healthy Valleys. Just like we couldn’t make things happen without our volunteers, same can be said for all the great people in agencies around Clydesdale. I would like to thank them all so much for being part of an extended team. As the deaf blind author Helen Keller said “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

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