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New community café raising awareness of crime

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We’ve joined forces with Greenstead Community Centre (GCC) to spearhead the launch of a new multi-agency project aimed at tackling crime and improving mental wellbeing in the borough.
The Omnis Centre, which opened yesterday (23 June), will see CBH and GCC join forces with KTM Care Ltd Family Solutions Catch 22 Phoenix Futures , Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue Service, and hate crime ambassadors, to offer specialist advice and support for young adults who may be experiencing mental health or neurodiverse issues or other personal difficulties that make them vulnerable to criminal activity.
The café-style initiative, based at the Greenstead Community Centre, was made possible with £2,000 from CBH’s Community Fund and £8,150 from Colchester Borough Council, and ties into the work of Project Morpheus , a wide-ranging multi-agency initiative aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour among young people.
The focus of the project will see the various agencies share resources and information to tackle hate crime, cuckooing, violent crime associated with county lines, as well as abuse within relationships of people with learning difficulties and/or autism.
Although there is no age-limit and the café will offer the same services to anyone who uses the centre, the project will focus predominantly on reaching out to vulnerable 18 to 24-year-olds and their families, whilst also offering people with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health conditions opportunities to socialise in a safe environment.
All café staff will be qualified as hate-crime ambassadors and all incidents of hate crime and cuckooing will be reported to the police and referrals made for further support.
Acts of violence often occur when people go into crisis over a prolonged period, and café staff will be able to spot the tell-tale signs and make relevant referrals for support. People with learning difficulties, mental health issues or autism in particular will be signposted to relevant agencies where appropriate.
Other specialist support available at the café will include money advice and referrals for financial assistance, to ensure that all benefits are being claimed to cut down on food and fuel poverty, rent arrears and, ultimately, evictions.
Colchester Borough Homes Chief Executive, Philip Sullivan, said: “This trailblazing initiative brings together – under one roof and with a shared focus – dedicated, specialist agencies that can provide a welcoming space to help tackle some of the more serious challenges vulnerable younger people and especially those with autism face.
“The new café will help bolster Project Morpheus and the parallel work it is doing to reach out to young people in the borough to steer them away from crime and anti-social behaviour – and I’m delighted CBH is playing a leading role in this initiative.”
The café will be open on Thursday evenings, but issues can be reported while the community centre is open during the daytime.