Working with Northumbria Police, Newcastle City Council, Northumbria University and local councillors, Newcastle University and its Students’ Union have launched a new initiative to help tackle the anti-social behaviour of some students living in residential areas.
The action plan includes a new ‘Halls to Homes’ campaign for students moving out of student accommodation to live in the community; a series of hard-hitting postcards highlighting the impact of anti-social behaviour on people’s lives; and a push to encourage more student volunteering in Jesmond.
Newcastle University’s Students’ Union recently organised a one-day clear up in Jesmond and this week sees the start of the Leave Newcastle Happy campaign, a repeat of last year’s successful event which includes an end of year clean up carried out by student and staff volunteers.
The two universities will also continue to fund additional policing in Jesmond through Operation Oak.
The revised action plan has been drawn up in response to a recent increase in the number of large house parties in Jesmond and concerns from residents around anti-social behaviour.
Marc Lintern, Newcastle University’s Director of Employability and Student Success who chairs the Jesmond Anti-Social Behaviour Task and Finish Group, said:
“Newcastle University has a long-standing commitment to encouraging good relationships between students and residents in Jesmond, but we recognise that anti-social behaviour is an ongoing issue and that large house parties during the past year have added to this.
“The majority of our students are considerate, respectful young people who make a valuable contribution to the communities in which they live.
“Sadly, there is a minority whose behaviour is sometimes unacceptable and we hope that by working with our partners in the city and drawing up this action plan we can work together to tackle this problem.”
‘Respect your neighbourhood’
Led by Newcastle University Students’ Union, the ‘Respect your neighbourhood’ leaflet and postcard campaign will be launched across Jesmond and also communicated to students via social media.
Based around five types of resident – an older person, a professional, a parent of young children, a fellow student revising for exams and a lecturer – the postcards highlight both the emotional and physical impact of late night noise and anti-social behaviour.
Distributed to student homes via landlords, door-to-door visits and also via second year personal tutors, they also include information about how to get involved in the local community, local events and emergency contacts.
A second leaflet has also been produced for local residents, providing information about how to contact the University if they experience anti-social behaviour, and for those residents who make a complaint, the University will feedback when it has been investigated and also the sanctions that have been applied.
President of NUSU Jack Taylor said:
“We hope that these extra communications will help to serve as a reminder for students about their place in the wider community. Students bring a great amount to the city of Newcastle and it’s imperative we encourage students to become active and responsible citizens during their time here.”
As part of the Halls to Homes campaign, and first year induction sessions, students will also be shown the new #saferpartying videos produced by Newcastle City Council, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and North East Ambulance Service.
Raising awareness of student volunteering
Each year, Newcastle University students are involved in a range of volunteering projects, both in the UK and abroad, and a number of projects are based in Jesmond.
These include Green Day at West Jesmond Primary School, allotment volunteering and the IT on the Move project, through which students work with older residents to improve their digital skills. The volunteers are currently working with trustees of Jesmond Library to prepare a grant application to fund new tablets to grow the project.
Deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Joyce McCarty, chairs the Students’ Forum. She said:
"Students make a massive contribution socially, culturally and economically to Newcastle. Many of them also do voluntary work from clean ups to helping adults learn English which greatly enriches the city.
"The vast majority are well behaved, but a small minority can cause misery and disruption for residents when they first move out of halls of residence and into private rented accommodation.
"These initiatives are designed to make students think about their behaviour and be better neighbours so they do not get themselves into trouble. It's a great idea and I am confident it will lead to a better quality of life for residents."
Chief Inspector Karl Wilson, of Northumbria Police, added:
"Our local neighbourhood policing teams understand the concerns of local residents and we are committed to working with local communities to try and deal with the ongoing issues they are reporting to us.
"There has been an increase in the number of house parties we have been called to this year and we continue to receive reports from local people about issues regarding noise, anti-social behaviour and concern for their community.
"Both of our universities are an important part of our city and they have shown a real willingness to engage with both students and local communities to resolve any issues that affect the lives of residents in areas like Heaton and Jesmond.
"We will continue to support the university, and our communities, through proactive patrols and educational campaigns. Our dedicated student officers regularly engage with students and we are glad to see students have shown real willingness to build positive relationships with local residents."
Professor Jane Core, Director of Student and Library Services at Northumbria University, said:
“At Northumbria University we do not tolerate any form of anti-social behaviour and we have clear disciplinary codes and sanctions in place. We are committed to working in partnership with Newcastle University and with the multi-agency, cross community group - Students Into Newcastle Forum. Unfortunately, despite all best efforts, we recognise that anti-social behaviour can still occur. To help combat this we contribute funds with partners towards ‘Operation Oak’, which helps to provide two extra police officers to patrol Jesmond, Heaton and Sandyford at on various nights of the week.
“In addition, we clearly articulate to students our expected standards of behaviour in the community and make regular visits to students in residential areas to remind them of their responsibilities. We continuously promote the need for our students to be good civic citizens, and during their time with us many students take up opportunities to volunteer in the community.”
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