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A team of 'Fixers' could soon be solving minor problems in the Falmouth community

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

By Ginette Davies, West Briton

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SMALL practical problems in public spaces could be fixed quickly by a team of volunteers and unemployed.

Discussions involving Helston and the Lizard's community network manager are taking place to set up a group which will respond pro-actively to issues such as bent road signs, graffiti or fly-tipping.

Steve Rowell, Cornwall Council's community safety manager, said the idea was to empower residents and agencies to engage in their environment by reporting issues which need a quick fix.

A bank of volunteers, including unemployed people and initially in Falmouth, would be created to undertake the environmental work.

Community network manager for both areas, Charlotte Chadwick, said she had seen the concept work in Lancashire where a team of unemployed people gained qualifications and other skills by taking part.

The hotline for people to report problems was linked to the local council and the team never said no to a problem. Local businesses donated equipment and supplies.

However, the scope of this project has yet to be agreed in terms of funding, what area will be covered to start with and how the team will be set up. The project was discussed at the Falmouth Joint Services' Group (JSG), which consists of police, fire brigade, licensing, Cornwall Council and other organisations. Mr Rowell said: "We have to think very carefully about how we do it. Lots of projects have come and gone because of funding cuts and that can leave a void."

"It is very early days," said Ms Chadwick. "It is something we are looking to trial, but we don't want people to set their aspirations too high. It will be responsive, but if it is inundated with requests it will have to prioritise.

"It is about looking at what bugs us, what is a repeated issue that once done will have a big impact on the community. I would like to trail blaze this in Falmouth with the possibility of rolling it out to other areas." But she said it was important the Fixers would not take on the services others were responsible for.

It was also about encouraging individuals to take their own responsibility.

"This is about communities doing it for themselves," she said. "For example if someone spots a dirty road sign, a resident could easily clean that themselves."

The matter will be discussed further at the next JSG meeting, when some funding options have been identified.

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