Community spirit on the rise in the Calders

A month-long initiative to improve the quality of life for residents in the Calders area of Edinburgh started today (Tuesday 21 August).

Operation Cipher is being led by the City of Edinburgh Council in conjunction with Lothian and Borders Police along with partners from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Health promotions and various other partner agencies.

It aims to raise awareness of the services available to residents of the Calders area, who will be encouraged to ask for advice or to speak out about any concerns they have on matters of anti-social behaviour and feeling safe in their community. 

Today's launch at Medwin House will kick start various activities taking place in the next month across the Calders.

  • Police officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Council's South West Neighbourhood Community Safety Team will be on hand to discuss and give advice on the support services local people can call on for help with anti-social behaviour and crime where it impacts on the community.

  • NHS staff will be available to discuss other issues of concern such as seeking advice and guidance on health matters, including free health checks, drug and alcohol services. 

  • There will be sporting activities such as canoeing, kayaking, mountain bikes, climbing wall and mobile football pitch, providing positive diversionary activities for adults and young people and promoting safer communities.

  • The Get on Bus will also be in the area providing information on how to get help to find a job.

This intensive period of partnership activity is supported by the Wester Hailes Community Council and a key aim of the initiative is to get local people more involved in their community and to set up a local neighbourhood community group. It is hoped this group will help identify the priorities of residents and work with the Police and the City of Edinburgh Council so everyone can be involved helping develop a brighter, safer future for the area.

In addition to today's launch there will be several days of action over the coming weeks to reinforce the aims of the operation.

Councillor Cammy Day, Community Safety Leader for Edinburgh, said: "Initiatives like this put the community right at the heart of our partnership work. The Capital Coalition is determined to strengthen and support our communities and keep them safe.

"A key partnership commitment is to maintain and improve the quality of life in the city so we will be actively talking and listening to the local residents in The Calders to understand what concerns them most in their neighbourhood, and working with them to make a real difference.

"By encouraging the residents to tell us how they feel they can help shape the services that are provided for the better. If there are issues like anti-social behaviour, graffiti, dog fouling or someone just needing some health or housing advice then experts will be on hand to help. We want to do everything we can to make the area cleaner, greener and safer for all."

Chief Inspector Richard Thomas, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: "Lothian and Borders Police is committed to improving quality of life for local residents in the Calders but we know we can't do it alone. Initiatives like this one are invaluable in bringing partners together to tackle all aspects of community life and ensure our communities are kept safe.

"As well as being fully involved in the scheme, we will be providing a highly visible presence in the area over the next few weeks to find out what local communities want from their police service and to establish the issues that matter most to them. I'd encourage anyone who lives in or around the Calders to get involved in what will be a great few weeks of activity."

Lesley Johnston, Public Health Practitioner, NHS Lothian, said: "Promoting health and wellbeing is a priority for NHS Lothian. We recognise that health is affected by a wide range of factors such as housing, environment, access to employment and training, and feeling safe within your community.

"By taking part in this initiative we hope to reach those people who may find it difficult to visit their GP or speak with a healthcare worker."

John Atchison, from the Wester Hailes Community Council, welcomed the initiative. He said: "What is happening during this month is really positive and I hope that the residents in all The Calders take part and speak to the various agencies who will be out and about during the four weeks.

"It will be a great opportunity to address some of the issues in the area. I am sure all the residents are very grateful for all the support of the agencies involved, working to improve the quality of life in The Calders."

Additional information:

1) Participants in the community initiative include NHS Lothian, Lothian & Borders Police, Lothian & Borders Fire and Rescue, Community Safety Officers, Environmental Wardens, Get on Bus, CHAI, NHS, CLD, Dove Centre, Bridge 8 Canoe Club, SNT and SFA, British Waterways, South Pole Activity Club - Kayaking, Eric Liddle Centre, Wester Hailes Library, Floating Youth Club, Canal Barge and Score Scotland.

2) In addition to the launch tomorrow several days of action have been identified where different agencies will be on hand to provide advice to residents. These will take place on Friday 31 August, Wednesday 5 September and Tuesday 11 September.    

3) Operation Cipher runs until 16 September.

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