Chester picked for new fight against crime.

Article date: 7 November 2002

Chester has been chosen as one of three areas in England for anew scheme to fight crime in the community.

Norwich Union, the UK’s largest general insurer, hasteamed up with Crime Concern to launch the Norwich UnionNeighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme on the Blacon Estate inChester, which will focus on training and coaching local people towork with fellow residents to fight crime.

The scheme recognises that one of the greatest resources in thefight against crime is the people who make up the community. Thecommunity apprentice will energise and develop this humancapital.

An apprentice will be appointed in three areas: the BlaconEstate in Chester, the Northfield Estate in Birmingham, andHackney, East London.

They will work under the supervision and guidance of experiencedCrime Concern managers already working with communities to tacklecrime across the country.

Chester’s Blacon Estate has 5,000 households, with apopulation of approximately 14,500 people and community safety hasbeen identified as the number one priority facing the estate.

Recent research by Norwich Union shows that while there has beena drop in community spirit across the UK, the figures are worse inareas of social housing.

People living in social housing are twice as likely to becomevictims of crime*, and Norwich Union’s ‘CommunityCrime’ study reveals that residents in these areas also had amuch greater fear for their personal safety and their property.

The study of 1,000 households and more than 350 council tenantsnationwide reveals one in three of council tenants have been avictim of crime - and on average they’ve suffered at leasttwice.

The apprenticeship position on the Blacon Estate will beadvertised in January, with the successful applicant starting inApril.

Jill Willis, market development manager for Norwich UnionInsurance, said: “As the UK's largest household insurancecompany we want to understand what’s really underneath thecrime figures, particularly in areas of social housing where thelevels of crime are twice the national average.

“Our research shows that fear of crime far outweighsactual reported figures, with more than two thirds of people livingon council estates worrying about their personal safety and that oftheir property.

"By funding apprenticeship schemes like the one on the BlaconEstate, we hope to achieve a better understanding of what worksbest at a grass roots level, in the hope that we can build on anddevelop schemes like this in the future."

Paul Boylan, the new Blacon Neighbourhood Manager, added:“We believe that action is needed to empower communities tohelp in the fight to reduce crime, and the Norwich UnionNeighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme will allow us to target theareas most in need.”

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Media contact:
Jane Wheeler/Matt Buchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or
Jenny Chapman at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 64 / 07775 822642.

Notes to editors:

  • Norwich Union commissioned Connect Research to interview 366council tenants in London and the South East, West Midlands andScotland, in June 2002. Sample included English speaking tenantsand non-English speaking Asian tenants.
  • Norwich Union also commissioned ICM Research Limited tointerview 1,000 households across the country about crime and homesecurity in June 2002.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at www.aviva.com
  • A selection of images is available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68
  • Crime Concern is a national crime reduction organisation whichworks with national and local agencies to create safercommunities. It manages national programmes and over 60 localprojects, as well as evaluated work on neighbourhood safety andtackling problems of burglary, domestic violence, vehicle crime,hate crime, passenger safety and business crime.

* Crime Concern statistic

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