Wardens on a mission to tackle anti-social issues in community
COMMUNITY wardens are tackling anti-social issues across Lochaber.
Willie Duncan and Matthew Possner were appointed as Lochaber’s community wardens in September 2016. While the pair don’t have specific patches, they work 28 hours a week across four days for the Highland Council, patrolling central and rural areas.
The wardens are concerned with problems including dog fouling, untidy gardens and fly tipping. They also help with housing allocation and recently helped in the welcoming of Syrian families to Kinlochleven.
Should the wardens find a garden filled with inappropriate items or overgrown grass they will give the householder a letter telling them to get the place in order.
If the situation hasn’t improved after 14 days, a second letter will be sent informing the resident the amount the council will charge to do the work for them. Willie Duncan told the Loch
aber Times: ‘We have about a 94 to 96 per cent success rate in places like Caol. Once people get the second letter, they tend to get the job done.
‘Once we issue the first letter, the name is logged. Some problems may take longer to fix and we give people the benefit of the doubt, but if someone tells us they are going to fix whatever problem we have highlighted on Wednesday, we will be there on the Thursday to check.
‘It doesn’t need to come to that though. If people have white goods they want to get rid of they can contact the Highland Council and get an uplift for £18.20. There is no need for people to be sitting with fridge freezers in their front garden. All that does is get the neighbours angry and cause unrest in the community.’
According to the Highland Council, the role of the wardens is to work with the community and other agencies to improve the safety and security of the area and to provide support, advice and information to the community.
It has also taken a proactive approach to developing links with community organisations and as part of Mr Duncan and Mr Possner efforts to tackle fly-tipping, they plan to visit schools throughout Lochaber to help engage young people in the importance of community care.
Mr Duncan added: ‘A lot of the problematic areas coincide with where youngsters walk to and from schools at lunch or at home time. Wherever there is unoccupied land you start to see litter building up, for example near the Esso garage in Fort William. The youngsters might be responsible for some of the mess but a lot of it is not out of badness. We hope to change their mindset. Maybe if we can get into the schools and talk to the pupils about the cost and the knock- on effects, they might cotton on to the mess they are making.’
Willie Duncan and Matthew Possner are the community wardens for Lochaber.