We have teamed up with Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue, All Together Better Sunderland and Together for Children to launch the HALO Project.
The project will see key organisations and support services all working together under the same roof to support those living in Hetton – and help some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
The exciting initiative follows the success of the award-winning SARA Project in Southwick, which was launched in September 2020, and has received widespread acclaim.
Building on the work achieved in Southwick, it is hoped the HALO Project will similarly breathe fresh life into Hetton with organisations and the public working together to tackle a range of issues including crime and disorder, mental health, unemployment rates whilst seeking to improve the overall aesthetic appearance of the area.
The project will see a team of police officers working alongside representatives from the council, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue, Gentoo, All Together Better Sunderland and Together for Children – operating from The Hetton Centre to provide streamlined support to those who need it most.
Susie Thompson, Executive Director of Housing at Gentoo Group, said: “We’re thrilled to be involved in this project and help some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
“We regularly work with tenants on issues including crime, mental health and unemployment and this way of partnership working is the best way to ensure our tenants get the support they need.
“Having these key organisations on the doorstep, being able to make real-time decisions will have such a positive impact on the whole area.”
Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “I’m delighted that the HALO Project is now up and running following a significant amount of planning and hard work between all partners.
“We have seen first-hand, through the SARA Project in Southwick, how this problem-solving approach can have a transformative and beneficial impact on the whole area.
“Having all the key organisations linked together and sharing information will help us make important and real-time decisions that can benefit the people of Hetton – on issues ranging from crime and housing to education and safeguarding, and everything in between.
“From a policing perspective, we will have dedicated officers at the HALO Project to monitor crime trends, safeguard the vulnerable and put effective problem-solving measures in place to ensure the area remains as safe as possible for all.”
Councillor Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m really excited about the HALO project. We already know from the success of the SARA project in Southwick, just what can be achieved by communities and key organisations working hand in hand.
“Having listened to residents as part of our Let’s Talk consultation, we know what issues they want to see tackled and how keen they are to get involved in what’s going on their community. This feedback has helped shape the HALO project.
“We have an incredible community in Hetton and this is a great opportunity for them to come together with organisations including the council, police, fire service and Gentoo to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour, crime and housing.
“It’s a brilliant chance for the community to get involved in improving the area and working together to make it a great place to live. Engaging with our stakeholders and the voluntary and community sector will also be key to the successful delivery of the project.
“I think it has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives and I’d encourage everyone to come along to the community fun day at the Hetton Centre next week to find out more and about how they can get involved.”
Andrew Nelson, Station Manager for Rainton Bridge Community Fire Station, added: "We regularly work with our colleagues at the police and local authority to address anti-social behaviour because it is often linked to deliberate fire setting.
"That was a particular issue in Southwick and we are really proud of our involvement in the SARA project as it saw a real reduction in the number of those fires.
"We have experienced similar issues in Hetton and are confident that, by adopting a multi-agency response as part of the HALO project, we can improve the lives of residents in the area."
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, also welcomed the initiative. She said: “I have great hopes for the HALO Project. Helping communities to help themselves can make such a difference. We need more of this.
“Bringing everyone together works and I look forward to seeing the project improve lives for the people of Hetton.”
The community of Hetton are invited to attend the official HALO launch on Thursday, February 24 between 10am and 2pm at The Hetton Centre.
There will be the opportunity to meet the HALO staff, find out about the organisations involved and how the project hopes to make a positive difference in the area.
All families are welcome with face painting, children’s entertainment and outdoor activities including a climbing wall available.
For more information, you can email the team at LetsTalkHALO@sunderland.gov.uk.