A student community warden scheme, which aims to bridge the gap between students and permanent residents in Winton, has been extended.
Six pairs of student wardens will regularly visit streets across Winton, knocking on doors to chat to residents and offer support and advice on everything from bin days to housing problems and noisy neighbours.
They will also help signpost to appropriate services, making sure residents and students have the information they need to report and deal with any issues.
Student community warden Grant Smith, a third year Psychology student who will cover the Frederica Road area, said: “It’s been good so far – most people have received it really well.
“Students are delighted when you talk to them and give them advice about housing if they’ve got a really bad landlord, and residents love it as well – they know that there is somebody out there and they can get in touch if they need to.”
He added: “It’s just about educating people in the community and giving them the information that they need.
“I think, for me, if we can have a positive impact on one resident who’s had lots of problems throughout previous years, or we can give advice to just one student house who are having issues, then we’ve done our job.”
The student community warden scheme is jointly funded by Bournemouth University (BU), Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and Bournemouth Borough Council.
It follows a successful pilot scheme last year, which saw four BU wardens clock up more than 50 miles on patrol around Winton – and helped lead to a 19.6 per cent reduction in crime around Winton and 41 per cent reduction in bin-related complaints from residents.
Winton East Councillor Pat Oakley, who helped introduce the wardens scheme, said: “It’s been an overwhelming success.
“We’ve learnt a lot from the pilot scheme but it certainly made a big difference in the roads that were covered by the student community wardens last year – the noise was down, the pavements were tidier, people got on with each other better and the students received that bit of support with moving into private accommodation.”
This year the scheme has been expanded, with 13 student community wardens – nine from BU and four from AUB – covering the entire Winton East area.
The warden scheme is just one of the community initiatives being run by BU and the Students’ Union at Bournemouth University (SUBU) in the area.
These include the Safer Students, Happy Homes campaign with United Taxis – which encourages students to avoid making unnecessary noise late at night – and the Lock it or Lose it campaign, which advises students on how to better protect their homes from burglaries.
Reece Pope, SUBU Vice President for Welfare, said: “Within the two universities here, we take up a big part of the population in Winton so I think it’s important that we run schemes like these to help the permanent residents and student residents become one community, rather than two separate ones.”
The student community wardens vary the times and days of their shifts to ensure they reach different residents, but will generally be out for two three-hour shifts a week, between 9am and 5am.
For any urgent issues or to formally report incidents of noise or anti-social behaviour, contact Bournemouth Borough Council on 01202 451296 or 0800 028 1870 (out of hours).