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Report on the Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch AGM & Conference, 27th October 2007, Rheged, Penrith

Over 100 delegates attended the 7th annual conference of the Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association, held at Rheged, Penrith, on Saturday 27 October 2007.

As well as the organisation’s formal AGM, the agenda featured a number of stimulating presentations by CNWA members and partners, the launch of the organisation’s lottery (the 50:50 club) and its inaugural raffle draw.

The vital role of ‘active citizens’ in maintaining community safety was a key theme of the day. Andrea Bell (the South Lakeland Development Officer) delivered the main presentation around the work of the High Sheriff’s Shield winner, Patrick Lowe of Cartmel. One delegate described this presentation as ‘inspirational’, and was featured in many event feedback forms, as what delegates wanted more of at future AGMs.

The High Sheriff, Claire Hensman, also presented exceptional service awards to;

    *  Bill Kirkpatrick (Wetheral)

    *  Joan Raine (Crosby Ravensworth)

    *  Patricia Farish (Carlisle)

    *  Sandy Macrea-Stewart (Brampton)

    *  Erica Arneil (Penrith)

    *  Andy Shaddock (Carlisle)

Amongst other highlights, the conference was delighted to welcome Cumbria’s new Chief Constable, Craig Mackey. Mr Mackey thanked all CNWA members for their invaluable work, which had been a real factor in Cumbria’s ‘crime recession’. He stressed the importance of good communication between the police and Neighbourhood Watch, and of partnerships with local authorities and other public sector bodies.

Stuart Pate, Head of the Community Unit at Cumbria County Council, developed this theme further. Stronger communities meant safer communities and vice versa; and close co-operation between the various agencies involved was essential if they were to build on the strong sense of community already evident in Cumbria.

Robin Burgess and Anne Pickles, of the CN News group, provided a media perspective. Mr Burgess described the media as essential to local democracy. Its role was to hold up a mirror to society, and to act as watchdog, investigating and sharing information for the common good. Ms Pickles gave a powerful account of how her personal experience of crime had awakened her sense of community and led her to set up a local neighbourhood watch scheme.

The day ended with a lively ‘Any questions?’ session, which gave delegates the chance to raise and compare notes on issues affecting lives at grassroots level, such as repeat burglaries and excessive teenage drinking.

The High Sheriff formally closed proceedings by thanking Alan Smith and his team for organising such a successful and informative day.

CNWA would like to thank the following for generous support towards financing the event:

    *  Cumbria County Council

    *  Cumbria Constabulary

    *  Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

    *  Furness Building Society

    *  The National Farmers Union

See pictures of the 2007 AGM