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Caithness News Bulletins February 2004

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Funding Confirmed For Pulteneytown Community Warden

The Highland Council has welcomed the Scottish Executive's announcement to fund  the appointment of  community wardens in six communities in the Highlands and to develop a community mediation scheme. The total funding for the two initiatives amounts to 230,000 over two years.

The Council will be introducing community wardens in Pultneytown, Wick, parts of Alness and Invergordon, parts of Inverness, Fort William and Kinlochleven. Community Wardens will work closely with the communities in which they are based to meet local needs. They will provide a highly visible presence in these communities, and they will be able to monitor and respond to particular issues and provide advice and information on available services and to vulnerable residents.

The Council is also going to develop a community mediation project, which will provide another option for helping with individual disagreements between neighbours and prevent these from escalating into more serious disputes.

The Council has already shown its commitment to tackling such behaviour by working with the police and other partners to develop a Community Safety Strategy and a Housing Liaison Protocol, which provides the framework needed for an effective exchange of information. Also in place are policies to tackle anti social behaviour and to use Anti Social Behaviour Orders.

Councillor Garry Coutts, the Council's housing spokesman, said: "The Council welcomes this funding and will use it to develop successful initiatives. However, it is important to recognise that community wardens are only one more tool to help tackle anti social behaviour. They will provide a positive influence in the communities they operate in, but clearly they will not be able to tackle every problem. The scheme only has two-year funding and will only operate in a small number of communities. There is no guarantee of funding after that time, so if we want to continue them alternative funding will have to be found not only for the pilot areas but to extend the scheme to every community that needs it."