A neighbourhood programme set up by the Christchurch Methodist Mission to reduce crime went on to contend for a global good policing award.
Acclaimed for reducing crime and violence in Linwood, You Matter to Us, is a monthly hub that began in 2016 in response to the high number of domestic violence callouts police were attending. It focuses on families with young children and is run by the NZ Police, the Christchurch City Council and the Linwood Avenue Union Church, as well as CMM.
Whānau who are part of You Matter to Us live in two streets of Linwood disproportionately affected by crime and violence.
In the three years since You Matter to Us was set up, police call-outs have dropped. Parents have got to know and trust one another and to take part in community activities and children’s programmes.
Lasting change has occurred because the families themselves have led the programme with the result that patterns of violence passed from generation to generation are being broken down.
You Matter to Us took to the stage at a global community policing award ceremony in the United States. After winning a national policing award, You Matter to Us was nominated for the Herman Goldstein Award, recognising outstanding police officers and police agencies around the world that reduce crime, disorder and public safety problems. They represented New Zealand at a policing conference in Santa Cruz, California, from November 11-13, one of only five projects globally to be nominated. They unfortunately didn't win but were thrilled to have got so far and have made connections with similar organisations in the United States and the United Kingdom as a result of the awards.
Anne Gibling, CMM Community Development Team Leader, says, “Crime has gone down, the streets look tidier, residents have a sense of pride and neighbours know each other which wasn’t the case before.”
“Children know other children and know they can go to the neighbours if they have to get out of the family home. They also see the police in a different light; not just as people who respond to call-outs but who will kick a football around with the children.”
One child in the neighbourhood dreams of becoming a police officer.
You Matter to Us children’s programme, Kids Hub, runs holiday programmes and activities for 45 children and is now largely led by parents. So successful, parents now refer other parents to CMM advisory services, organise children’s activities and write project funding applications.
A day out for residents who take part in You Matter To Us.