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Family Fun Day brings local community together

There was fun for young and old alike when local residents gathered for a community celebration.

The Thorndyke Avenue Family Fun Day brought scores of residents from Middlesbrough’s Grove Hill together to mark a summer of local action.

Families joined forces with Middlesbrough Council, Thirteen Group and Cleveland Police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

Middlesbrough Council Community Safety Officer Julie Pearce said: “People had been feeling threatened and intimidated by the criminals and were struggling to report issues for fear of reprisal action.

“In some cases it was causing people to move out of the area, and that’s when the local community decided that enough was enough. 

“They worked tirelessly over the summer with a range of key agencies and to re-build trust and establish a safe environment in which local people felt able to share information.

“Robust CCTV was installed as a further safeguard, and to help identify and prosecute those responsible for the disorder.”

Residents have praised the community effort which has turned the tide against fighting, speeding cars and drug dealing.

One said: “I thought the work from everyone was really good.

“They were at your door every week and posting letters, it made me feel more secure knowing that something was being done about it.

“When the camera went in it made a massive difference - I feel a lot better, it’s better for the kids and a lot do not want to move now.”

Another resident also said many of the issues had been resolved through partnership working: “It is much quieter now with all the work that’s been done, especially the camera going up.

“My mam is really appreciative of all the work done…she never shuts up about it.”

Many of those involved gathered for the Thorndyke Avenue Family Fun Day on Saturday, September 16 to recognise the hard work undertaken by both residents and agencies. 

Middlesbrough Environment City’s smoothie-making BMX bike was on hand, with young people concocting a range of healthy smoothies before pedalling furiously to drive the blender.

Face painting and body art were enjoyed by all, especially the local Neighbourhood Police Officers, while residents of all ages old litter picked the area until bags were bursting. Those involved received vouchers for their contribution to making their area a cleaner place to live.

The finale was a mixed resident/agency football match organised by MFC Foundation’s Kicks programme, with refreshments kindly provided by the local Grove Hill Lifestyle store.

Safe in Tees Valley also delivered an outreach session for older teenagers later on the same day.

Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “People have an absolute right to live in their community free from the threat and intimidation of criminal and anti-social behaviour.

“The work carried out in and around Thorndyke Avenue is a shining example of what can be achieved when local residents and agencies work together on behalf of law-abiding citizens.

“They’ve made a real and lasting difference, and the Family Fun Day was a well-deserved celebration of everything they’ve achieved.”