A Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) is a multi agency problem solving group consisting of local residents and businesses along with representatives from Milton Keynes Council, Thames Valley Police and other agencies involved in the community. They are all brought together to plan and action the main concerns identified by the local community. The idea is that by focusing on those concerns this will improve community safety, reassurance and reduce crime and disorder.
The NAGs have now been going since 2007 with good results. Building on this, the neighbourhood management teams in Milton Keynes have begun to introduce a programme of Junior NAGs across local schools.
There are now two Junior NAGs which meet regularly to tackle environmental problems, with plans for more currently being explored.
The first of the two to be set up was in the Central Neighbourhood Management area at Orchard School in Springfield. Here a group of children from the school, ranging from age 7-9, go out patrolling on a monthly basis. For about 40 minutes the children, along with their Neighbourhood Warden or Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), explore their local neighbourhood looking to tackle issues such as dog fouling, graffiti, damage to road signs and litter. Any problems they find are then passed back onto the main NAG and to the Milton Keynes Council Environmental Helpline to look at solutions.
Rob Harriman, the Central Neighbourhood Warden said “it’s great to see children taking an interest in what’s going on, it stands them in good stead for when they get older to respect things around them”.
Year 4 pupils in Queen Eleanor School, Galley Hill, are also involved with the West Neighbourhood team in a junior NAG for their area. Having been out on patrols, they decided in June to go out and get their hands dirty, working to clear some of the worst graffiti around their school. The West Neighbourhood Wardens, Michael Bryant and Tony Jeffs, will be rolling out Milton Keynes’ third junior NAG in September, with Long Meadow School in Shenley Brook End.
Michael and Tony said, “it is great to see the kids being so enthusiastic about taking care of their local area and we are looking forward to seeing more junior NAG’s taking place all over the borough.”