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Friday, 18 November 2011

"Crime Care" in Tuffley

The Grange Community Crime Care team
 Our special edition of the Baptist Times will be delivered to your church administrator or secretary next week. With this week's announcement that the end of the year will see the paper's final edition, this has become something of a historic opportunity for us. Here's another sneak preview of one of our contributions, from Tony Minter of Grange Baptist Church in Tuffley, Gloucester:
 This Summer Grange Baptist Church was broken into not once, but three times in twelve weeks!
Although the thieves didn’t get away with anything of great financial value (although they did take a large iron and concrete safe) the disruption and destruction was significant. After the adrenaline rush of watching a car speed from the church car park in the early hours, the shock of seeing the damage, walking over broken glass and through splintered doors , the frustration that all your best plans for the week will be re prioritized because of the process of reporting the crime and the pastoral care of ensuring the church’s mission morale remains high. It’s only then, after the crime has been reported and temporarily repaired that the full emotion of what has happened hits home.
In stark contrast to this was the amazing resources of time, materials, skills and care the church members showed as they rallied together to clean up and repair the scene in a matter of hours. This led me to reflect upon how much more painful and traumatic it must be to face these types of crimes if you are a single parent, elderly, disabled or without the financial means, transportation or time to deal with this kind of crime at your own home. Perhaps God was trying to tell me something - but it took three attempts for me to get the message! Actually he was probably telling me something else as well...get an alarm!
Over the next few weeks the concept of a Community Crime-Care project began to formulate. From our own experiences it was clear that vulnerable members of the community could benefit in two ways.  First, a Practical Team who would respond to vulnerable victims of crime and repair and secure their property as soon as possible after the crime.
Second, a Pastoral Team to follow up with home visits and provide friendship and support in the emotional aftermath of the crime.
We organised a meeting with the Gloucester Police and councillors to explore the logistics of such a scheme. It was met with great enthusiasm and support. Local suppliers such as Deluxe Decorator Centre offered free materials and Nicks & Co Timber Ltd pledged to supply wood to replace broken fences or garden shed doors.  Simon Crosskey of Dulux in Tuffley told us: “This is such a positive initiative in the light of so much negative news these days, and we are delighted to participate with this project.”

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