PEOPLE POWER: Derbyshire community in drug fight back
The people of a North Derbyshire community are fighting back after finding drug paraphernalia near a play area used by schoolchildren.
After discovering a number of syringes in woodland off Cavendish Place, residents of Barrow Hill have come together to form a new community group to combat the scourge of drugs in the area.
The group - which is called Community Growth - is a social enterprise which has been working with schools, businesses and local authorities to improve the area.
One of its directors, Natalie Peace, says the finds have actually turned out to be a catalyst for change in the area.
She said: “In the last couple of weeks we have found a number of syringes in the woodland near our new community play area.
“As a result, we had a big meeting to discuss how we were going to tackle it through the cultural education partnership we have been working with.
“We thought that yes, we have found these things but rather than that just be a bad thing, we could use it as a way to work together to tackle the long standing issues the area faces.”
The play area was recently given to the Barrow Hill community by local business Fitzwise, which is now offering to help clean it up so it can be safely used by the community.
“Fitzwise have agreed to come down with machinery and clear the woodland back and put a footpath through it,” said Natalie.
“Environmental health have also been down, we are organising a community litter pick and Chesterfield Borough Council, Staveley Town Council and Derbyshire police have been really helpful as well.”
“We are going to be putting up posters around Barrow Hill designed by the children saying they are unhappy with the situation and they will not tolerate it.”
“It has turned out to be the first breakthrough we had have because of the partnership.”
Councillor Lisa-Marie Derbyshire, Chesterfield borough member for New Whittington and Barrow Hill and a Staveley town councillor, said: “I am pleased that a number of agencies are working together to develop options to make this area safe.
“Chesterfield Borough Council, Staveley Town Council, the police, the community safety partnership, Community Growth and local company Fitzwise are in urgent discussions about clearing the needles, and making the area safe from further misuse.
“Everyone is keen to work for the good of the community and have a particular desire to ensure safety of the local children at the nearby school.”