Crime commissioner funds Safer Streets Centre to help vulnerable residents in Bedford

Victims of crime will also benefit from the centre
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Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has funded a community centre in Bedford which will support victims of crime and help to reduce the risk of residents becoming victims.

The newly improved community centre, on Prebend Street in Bedford - which has been run by the charity SMART CJS since 2016 - was officially reopened yesterday (December 17) following further £16,040 investment from the commissioner.

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The commissioner - Kathryn Holloway - said: “I’m absolutely delighted that right at the very heart of the Midland Road Safer Streets project there will be an improved community centre, which is also Covid secure, to provide a meeting point for residents and a base for partners to deliver projects with them to make the whole neighbourhood safer and create a real sense of community as well.

Antonina Belcheva and John McKinney at the community centreAntonina Belcheva and John McKinney at the community centre
Antonina Belcheva and John McKinney at the community centre

“This would not have been possible without funding from the Home Office which was one of two Safer Streets bids totalling £882,000 won by my office this year and without the help of Bedford Borough Council which has worked with the OPCC team on this bid for the Midland Road area.”

Anita McCallum, CEO for SMART CJS, said: “We are thrilled that the SMART Prebend Centre will now be used in a whole new way - as a community centre – as a base for the Safer Streets Project and other community partner organisations. Rather than lying empty, with this temporary change of use kindly granted by Bedford Borough Council, it will be opened for the benefit of the residents and to make the area safer for all."

The Community Safety team from Bedford Borough Council will use the centre to continue the work being carried out under the Safer Streets Fund, which involves working with the community to improve residents’ home security, street lighting and improved CCTV cameras.

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The Community Policing team will also be present at the centre to support the community and offer crime prevention advice, as well as a victim care coordinator from Signpost.

Any organisation or charity wanting to use the centre as a base for community work should contact the team via email at [email protected].