The Government must learn the lessons of Gateshead and “level up” neighbourhood services if it wants to end anti-social behaviour, Police Commissioner McGuinness has said.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has applauded community-led organisation Edberts House on their work helping families and fighting poverty.

Staff at Edberts House provide people in Gateshead with support for everything from youth services to housing help and family support.

The results have been dramatic drops in anti-social behaviour. One estate in Gateshead, which had the highest level of anti-social behaviour problems ten years ago, with 14.7 out of 100 tenants, has seen this reduce to 0.7 out of 100, below the Borough average as a direct result of supporting local people.

Kim McGuinness, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, said she was happy to back the community group with support from her Violence Reduction Unit, but called on the Government to build up these organisations across the north.

She said: “For me it is clear, if we fight poverty we fight crime and if the government is serious about levelling up the north it needs to look at supporting our hardest hit neighbourhoods.

“We have shown that by investing in strong community support centres we can help people take control and turn their neighbourhood around. But there is only so much we can do locally. It is time the Government got serious about levelling all parts of the North, not just business parks and train stations.”

With the launch of three community hubs in the last 10 years, the Edberts House organisation has helped 6000 individuals in a range of activities for families and children, supported by volunteers and local apprentices, who following training, have successfully moved into employment.

The team of experienced community development workers, along with groups of people from the local community, have provided social activities including children and young people’s groups, family learning, arts activities and theatrical productions.

Ms McGuinness added: “I’m incredibly proud that organisations like Edberts House exist in our communities and the impact of the work they do to support those in most need is truly inspiring. Along with my Violence Reduction Unit, they recognise how important it is to give people opportunities to improve lives and ultimately prevent crime in our region.

Sarah Gorman, CEO of Edberts House, says “Violence is always a serious matter, but it is a symptom: a symptom of trauma, a symptom of poverty, a symptom of unemployment, hopelessness, lack of belonging…the list goes on.  By working collaboratively with other organisations, and embedding long term support in our communities, we can address the root causes, and really make a difference.”

For more information please contact the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit by email