Taunton Deane Borough Council has appointed a Streetwise Co-ordinator as part of efforts to address anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
Ian Laity took up his post this month on an 18-month pilot project to help to tackle aggressive begging, rough sleeping and street anti-social behaviour including drinking and drug use.
Ian’s role will take a multi-agency approach working with the Avon and Somerset Police, Taunton Association for the Homeless and Open Door. He will also be working alongside the Council’s Rough Sleeping Co-ordinator Clare Stuart and the Marketing and Place Manager Andrew Hopkins.
Councillor Jane Warmington, Executive Councillor for Community Leadership, said: “I am delighted to welcome Ian to the team as part of our efforts to make Taunton a safe and pleasant place to live and work.
The Council will continue to take a preventative and supportive approach as its default position but recognises that enforcement is also needed in some circumstances and Ian’s job is to help us strike the right balance. Even through enforcement action we are always looking for positive outcomes for individuals with the help and support of relevant agencies.”
Ian’s appointment follows the recent launch of a diverted giving scheme set up by the Council in conjunction with the Police.
The scheme means that people can donate money directly to the local charity Open Door rather than giving to people begging on the streets. Open Door then uses the cash to provide meals, showers, laundry and support to rough sleepers from its base in Mount Street.
You can donate by post or in person at Open Door, 1A Mount Street, Taunton, TA1 3QB or online at mydonate and search for Taunton Open Door.
There is also a collection box at the Taunton Visitor Centre at the Market House in the town centre, which is open from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday to Saturday.