Make Barnsley Chronicle My Home Page Close
Share this story

Neighbourhood Watch in danger of collapse

By helen williams, Hoyland Reporter Wednesday 7th May 2014

HOYLAND Common's Neighbourhood Watch group is in danger of collapsing if no-one comes forward, the retiring co-ordinator fears.

 

Margaret Hague, 83, of Sheffield Road, has not been well and leaves her lynchpin role on July 18. She has been doing the job for 28 years.


Her home is dotted with the many awards she has won for community service and partnership working. Her dedication to the Hoyland Common community never wavers - during the Chronicle's visit she was writing a birthday card for a 90-year-old neighbour and wrapping a gift for a retiring local fireman.


Over the years, she has championed the Neighbourhood Watch ideals by helping people improve home security, encouraging greater vigilance, accurately reporting suspicious incidents to the police and fostering community spirit.


One of her worries is that no-one is willing to step into her shoes.


She has lived in Hoyland Common all her life and said: "I love my area. It galls me to see it go to rack and ruin because of crime. I think it's wrong that the police work hard to get criminals to court and then the court lets them go."


She said that officially, a Neighbourhood Watch group was only supposed to cover 15 homes in an area but now she is covering all Hoyland Common and beyond.


"There are not enough officers in our Safer Neighbourhoods Team and in my view they haven't got the resources to cope with the amount of crime now happening, no matter how hard they try."


Margaret, who has a son Peter, worked as a home help for years before getting involved in Neighbourhood Watch. She said: "As a home help, I tried to look after all the people I visited to the same standard as I look after my own family. A lot of these older people are frightened to death of crime - I know because I have been talking to them for a very long time."


At meetings, the Neighbourhood Watch Group sometimes gets as many as 35 members, but that can dwindle to ten. It has lost a lot of older members who have died.


Margaret is offering to work for the first month with any volunteers who come forward to take over her area co-ordinator role.
She said: "I love it but I think for anyone who volunteers, it's no good doing it half-heartedly. If you're going to do a job you have to do it properly."