Central PACT to set up stall at market

An earlier St Annes central PACT meeting at the YMCA
An earlier St Annes central PACT meeting at the YMCA

Another police and community meeting is going on the road in a bid to boost attendances.

St Annes’ Central PACT (Police and Communities Together) is following the example of its equivalent in Ansdell and Fairhaven by taking its meetings to key locations rather than staging a meeting at a set venue.

The switch, using the police community van as a remote base, has proved successful in Ansdell and Fairhavem where the fourth ‘on the road’ meeting is set to take place at Fairhaven Lake on August 7 following earlier sessions at Clifton Drive, Alexandria Drive and Woodlands Road.

And Central ward officials are going to the crowds in a bid to attract a greater crowd - by holding their next session adjacent to St Annes’ next monthly farmers’ market in St Annes Square on Thursday, August 1.

Attendances have been dwindling for some time at the PACT meetings traditionally held on the first Thursday of a month at the YMCA in St Albans Road.

Chairman Drew McLaren has claimed that the meetings are ‘a victim of their own success’, with low attendances an indiaction that the puiblic in the area are not unhappy with crime levels and have no particular grievances to report.

A two-month gap between meetings was introduced in the hope of attracting a bigger attendance but along with three councillors – two from Fylde and one from St Annes town council - just one member of the public attended and community beat manager PC Mike Schouteten suggested following Ansdell and Fairhaven’s lead and go out and about in the ward.

It was agreed that the sessions be held to tie in with set piece events attracting crowds such as the farmers’ market and the first session will be held on August 1 between 10am and noon.

Coun Cheryl Little, Fylde Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for social wellbeing, has been a regular attender of Ansdell and Fairhaven PACT meetings as a Fairhaven ward councillor and has been delighted with the turnout at the new-look sessions.

“It is such a positive move and has gone down very well,” she said.

“I think it proves attractive to people who might not be keen to go along to a formal meeting but feel better about putting their queries or asking for advice in this more informal setting.

“They get all the answers they would at the meeting plus a lot more besides, as all sort of leaflets and other items are to hand in the community van and all sorts of different topics can be covered.

“I think it is especially good for people who might not to keen to go out in the evenings and I am sure the idea will grow.

“I have heard of interest from other areas of Fylde.”