Communities First noticeboard vandalised following months of neglected.
Angry residents in Higher Shotton say ‘Communities First‘ are ignoring the community they have been tasked to support, the claim follows the near destruction of their notice board which has been neglected for months.
Communities First, the Welsh Government’s £75 million flagship program, based in the John Summers campus, Queensferry, aims to “narrow the economic, education skills and health gaps between our most deprived and more affluent areas”
Higher Shotton is one of the most deprived areas in the whole of Wales according to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation
Part of the Communities First ‘outreach’ program has historically been to keep the community it serves informed with relevant bulletins and information notices on courses, such as job clubs and health education, these are pinned to the noticeboard which is situated at a community focal point close to Central Drive shops in Higher Shotton.
The £1,500 ‘vandal proof’ board purchased and maintained by Communities First has been left in a state of disrepair after being vandalised, however the damage happened over a lengthy period of time and follows months of neglect by Communities First.
One furious Higher Shotton resident told us:
“I drive past it (the board) every day, there has been no significant or relevant community notice’s in it for months, now the doors have been left open and flapping in the wind, with one single solitary, sad looking piece of paper inside, which was from Shotton Town Council”
We spoke to another resident who said:
“When I saw the noticeboard this morning I thought not only do they (Communities First) now ignore this community they are now actively adding to the degradation in the community, by ignoring this noticeboard. If they were engaging with this community they would have been aware that the noticeboard was open and rectified the problem. Instead, it has been left and vandals have been able to rip the doors off and write inside”
Communities First are clearly not to blame for any of the the vandalism that has occurred, the fact remains the noticeboard has been neglected for a number of months both in terms of posting new, relevant notices and general maintenance, one of the doors appears to have either been left unlocked or forced open, it wasn’t until weeks after this that the doors were ripped off.
We spoke to Communities First around 18 months ago about the board and the information within it, or lack of! we were given assurances by the management team at the time, that information notices would be regularly refreshed.
A Flintshire County Council spokesperson said:
“The notice board is used by various organisations, the police have a key to update information and Communities First hold a key. It is regularly updated with information from Communities First.
“It has been brought to the Council’s attention that the lock is faulty and up to now staff have made every effort to make sure that the notice board is always secure. A request has been issued to the Council’s repair team to fix the lock and panels due to recent vandalism.”