On 4th May I went to Hinckley for one of my regular Community Days. After a cracking bacon and egg sandwich at the Three Pots Café in Burbage, I headed into Hinckley town centre to meet Ruth Wright at the Pathways Centre, part of the Baptist Church on Baptist Walk.
The doorway in was most welcoming, with the logo of stepping stones etched on to the glass. Ruth was waiting for me just inside. “Could I just finish this phone call,” she asked. I sat down at a convenient chair to wait. Ruth soon joined me – along with a nice hot cup of tea. She was soon telling me all about the valuable work that the Pathways Centre does for the people of Hinckley and area.
The Centre is based in what used to be the school attached to the Baptist Church – it is an absolute warren of buildings going back over 200 years with extensions, alterations and reconfigurations having taken place over the decades. A major refurbishment took place around 2006. Today the building is home to a wide range of organisations. Some, like the Boys Brigade, have been here for generations, but others are very new indeed. Among the nearly 20 groups using the centre are:
Cornerstone organises a Tuesday lunch club
Take a Break provides respite day care for those with dementia
Steps2Hope is a self-help group for those recently bereaved
The Crisis Café gives support to those struggling with mental health
HUGS helps residents who have recently mpved here from the Ukraine
They are all do valuable work for the people of the town and surrounding area. The Centre is eager for people to volunteer to help. You could give as much or as little time as you like – every effort is welcome. Go to hinckleybaptist.com/pathways for more details.
I then moved on to meet with Daniel Hope, who is spearheading the organising of Hinckley Pride. He is an absolute dynamo of energy, going about his task with zest, skill and bucket loads of enthusiasm. He sketched out his plans for the day [15th July]. There will be over 50 stalls in Hollycroft Park, along with a succession of acts performing on the bandstand stage plus poetry readings higher up the hill. And, of course, plenty of food and drink to be had.
There will also be a display on at the Atkins Building, running from 9th May to 31st May. And the Bond Street Distillery is currently producing a limited edition of the specially formulated Passion 4 Pride Gin – based on passionfruit. It is also hoped that there will be a Pride March, as elsewhere, but the route it will follow is not yet decided – there are issues around closing some of the roads to traffic, which may end up determining the route.
All of this under the slogan “Together Always, United in Diversity”. The key idea is to raise the visibility of the LBGT community in Hinckley to let individuals know that there is a wider community in the town that they are part of.
It was a pleasure to speak to Daniel and learn of his dynamic plans for the day and appreciate how much he has already achieved.
I then moved on to the Hinckley Police Station to learn more about the exciting “DISC” system that promises to revolutionise the battle against retail crime in the town. PCSO Phil Wayne sat me down at a computer to talk me through things.
At the heart of the system is an information sharing app. This is currently being made available to shops that are part of the Hinckley BID, though it may be expanded later on. Everything is done to ensure that data security is high and that the system is GDPR compliant. I don’t want to give too much away, but the system allows the police, BID and shop staff to share news and updates about the activities of criminals.
PCSO Wayne is hopeful for the future. “I’ve seen this work elsewhere,” he tells me, “and it has made the world of difference. This is all about making Hinckley safer for shoppers, retailers and staff. That will make the town even better and more attractive than it already is.”
Quite so. I’m due back in September to see what difference the new system has made.
I also took the opportunity of being in town to talk to residents and shoppers about their individual concerns, as well as to run an on-line question session. These threw up a number of interesting queries from the frequency of patrols to concerns over van break-ins. I will be taking these up individually with the police area commander to see what can be done.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Wednesday 10th May 2023