Each year, the Safer Community Awards attracts a number of innovative entries from across Scotland, and this year was no exception. Winners included: an initiative in Edinburgh to tackle New Psychoactive Substances, work by the Scottish Borders Rural Crime Prevention to reduce theft; a partnership tackling hate crime in Edinburgh; and an initiative in Wallacetown, Ayr which saw joint working with a local primary school to deal with environmental issues.
Speaking at the Convention the following day, Annabelle Ewing - the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs - focused on three issues that are central to the Government’s priorities for Community Safety: reducing inequality in our society; community empowerment and partnership and collaboration in decision making. She commended all the finalists for reflecting those priorities and offered her personal congratulations to the winner of the Peoples’ Choice Award - the Fife Water Safety Initiative. The project was launched after the tragic deaths of two teenagers at Prestonhill Quarry and works to educate young people about the dangers of open water.
The rest of the day gave delegates the opportunity to attend workshops and hear from speakers, including Andrew Magowan of Inspiring Scotland, who spoke about Link Up - the organisation’s assets based approach funded by Scottish Government. He took the opportunity to introduce local people working in the Link Up Programme – including members of an archery club based in Kilmarnock who explained how the project had made a difference to their lives.
It was encouraging and moving to hear positive words about folks’ experiences. Perhaps it was Derek Crichton, Communities Director at Dumfries and Galloway Council and member of SOLACE, who best summed up the sentiment of the day with the words: “you move faster alone but further together”. Most would agree that collaboration and partnership is key, while taking the time to build lasting change in small steps.