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Hastings Gets Cash for Clean-Up Campaign

Hastings Gets Cash for Clean-Up Campaign

EMBARGOED UNTIL 6AM 12 SEPTEMBER 2008

Keep Hastings Beautiful Trust and Hastings District Council have been given a substantial financial boost to start three new initiatives to fight graffiti in the district.

The funding will pay for:

• Graffiti clean-up kits free to neighbourhoods, schools and businesses regularly hit with graffiti.

• Soda-blasting graffiti off sites which are of significant cultural or social importance to Hastings

• A two-pronged graffiti education programme in the district.

Hastings District Council’s Environment Enhancement Officer, Jacqui Barnes, says funding for the first two projects was granted after the trust applied to the Crime Prevention Unit’s small initiatives fund at the Ministry of Justice.

Kits are available free to neighbourhoods, schools and businesses regularly hit by graffiti offenders.

The 200 small kits, for residents, and 100 big kits, for schools and businesses, contain Citrus Blast (a biodegradable cleaner), gloves, cloths and instructions, with a scrubbing brush included in the big kits. The kits are worth $18.50 (small) and $33.50 (large).

The idea is one person in each graffiti-prone street will hold a kit and it can be used by the community. This is about taking care of our own neighbourhoods and it’s been proven that rapid removal is the key to combating graffiti, Jacqui says.

The Crime Prevention Unit also granted $3000 for the soda-blasting of important sites and the first of those, the historic bus-stop outside the gates of Hawke’s Bay Regional Hospital, was cleaned today (Friday).

The education programme has received $150,000 over three years from the Ministry of Justice, under the STOP (Stop Tagging Our Place) Strategy.

Hastings District Council was one of 35 councils to apply to the pool and just 12 to be granted funding.

It is hoped the two-week programme, being developed for primary schools, will be taught in 16 schools in its first year. GIS mapping over a five-week period will identify where the worst hit areas are and then the course will be adapted to the specific needs of each area.

The second part of the education programme is aimed at the offenders themselves. In consultation with police, known offenders will attend a voluntary six-week compressor-spray art course, where they will explore job opportunities, why they graffiti and health and safety. The culmination of the course will see the offenders put together a mural for areas identified by the GIS mapping. The funding will pay for 10 courses a year.

These projects are just part of our multi-faceted approach to graffiti prevention. Hastings District Council is developing a draft graffiti strategy and this is backed up by other agencies, with a hui four times a year to get us all on the same page.

Recent arrests show this approach is working and these initiatives are putting Hastings on the map for leading the charge in the fight against graffiti.

For a photo opportunity Landmark Trust chair Cynthia Bowers will be overseeing the soda-blasting of the historic bus-stop on Omahu Road at 9.30am.


ENDS

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