Bedford Neighbourhood Watch celebrates 40th anniversary

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Cllr Colleen Atkins helped set up Bedford Neighbourhood Watch 40 years ago

Bedford communities are invited to ‘say hello’ and take part in a host of events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Neighbourhood Watch.

Neighbourhood Watch Week (28 May – 5 June) will allow friends and neighbours to come together and celebrate the impact the neighbourhood watch has had over the past 40 years.

Bedford Neighbourhood Watch was one of the first three Neighbourhood Watch schemes in the country and is still going strong 40 years later.

Starting in 1982, Neighbourhood Watch is now seen as the largest voluntary organisation in the UK.

The theme throughout Bedford Neighbourhood Watch Week 2022 is ‘Say Hello’ backed by the comedian John Bishop, who produced a special video to encourage residents, neighbourhoods and communities to build new friendships and connections.

Programme of activities

  • Saturday 28 May, 10am – 2pm: Launch of Bedford Neighbourhood Watch Week, Harpur Square.
    Kicking off the week Harpur Square hosts Bedford’s Neighbourhood Watch, Fire Service and Safer Streets along with a fire engine and free goodies!
  • Sunday 29 May: Jubilee Community Litter Picks.
    Why not bring along family and friends to enjoy some time at Plantation Park in Linden Road whilst helping to keep our community clean and safe? All equipment and refreshments are provided.
  • Monday 30 May, 10am – 2pm Fire Service Water Safety Activity, Priory Marina.
    ‘Say hello’ to Fire Service White Watch and Neighbourhood Watch, showcasing a fire engine and a chance to have a go at throwing a throwline.
  • Monday 30 May: ‘Have-a-Cuppa’ Day and ‘Say Hello’
    A great day to start a conversation whilst ‘having a cuppa’ with old friends and new neighbours. Or equally, an inspiration to check in on someone who may be alone often and brighten up their day whenever you can.
  • Tuesday 31 May: See It! Report It! Launch of Report Card
    A day to remind everyone the importance of the ‘See it! Report it!’ scheme to help prevent crimes such as flytipping, domestic abuse and drug dealing by reporting such activities with safety and certainty.
  • Wednesday 1 June: Bedfordshire Police Action Day with Neighbourhood watch
    Showing the importance of action across the whole of Bedford by ‘saying hello’ to the Neighbourhood Watch and police

    • Putnoe Library Walk shops 10-11am
    • Newnham Wendover Drive shops 2-3pm
  • Thursday 2 June, 11am – 1pm: Neighbourhood Watch at the Harpur Centre
    Come and ‘say hello’ to the delightful ‘Harpur the mascot’ along with the Neighbourhood Watch with advice information and free goodies
  • Friday 3 June, 12 – 3pm: Bedford African Community Multicultural Fun Afternoon
    Stalls and entertainment at Cauldwell community centre, don’t be shy, come ‘say hello’
  • Saturday 4 June, 3 – 6pm: Queen’s Park Community Organisation Multicultural Festival Fun and entertainment at The Slipe, enjoy exciting stalls and entertainment
  • Sunday 5 June: Individual Jubilee Street Parties and Big Lunches
    A great end to the week within your own neighbourhood and a chance to reach out and bond with those closer to home.

Colleen Atkins, chair of Bedford & District Neighbourhood Watch, said: “To say we are immensely proud is an understatement. Little did we know that when we started the first group in Chaucer Road, Bedford in 1982 and then our week of events in 1985, that we would influence the whole country.

“The pandemic over the past two years has meant people have been more isolated, so we are using our 2022 Neighbourhood Watch Week to rekindle connecting with each other.

“There are people in all our communities who have been living alone because of Coronavirus and are lonely. A ‘Hello’ and a smile is an excellent way to start a conversation and invite them for a cup of tea or coffee or drop by and see them. Just a simple ‘Hello’ could brighten someone’s day.”

Comedian John Bishop added: “I’ve been encouraging people at my comedy gigs to wear a ‘Say Hello’ badge. It just helps to break the ice to ‘Say Hello’ to each other. Now we are spreading the ‘Say Hello’ message throughout the Month of Community.

So ‘Say Hello’ to your neighbours and your community at Big Lunches and other events right across the month of June. It all starts with just saying ‘Hello’.”

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