? VILLAGES Housing Association and the Safer Knowsley Partnership were delighted that the Stockbridge Village "Safer Communities Initiative" won three awards at the National Housing Federation's North West "What We Are Proud Of" awards - including the overall winner for the North West.
The SCI also won the Best Partnership and the Best Impact on Residents awards.
The Safer Communities Initiative (SCI) is aimed at making Stockbridge Village a safer place for residents to live and work.
The estate, built in the 1960s, has gained a bad reputation in recent years with gang, gun and drug culture becoming more prevalent.
With residents' trust in partners at a low point Knowsley Council, Merseyside Police, Villages Housing and others launched the SCI in January 2010a.
In the first 12 months of the initiative, from January 2010 to January 2011, overall crime in the area reduced by 20%.
Vernon Jackson, Chief Executive at Villages Housing, says: "The Partnership has worked very hard over the last 18 months to combat Anti-Social Behaviour and crime in Stockbridge Village. This award is recognition that the work that has been carried out has really made a massive difference to this estate and to the lives of the good, decent people who live here; the results are amazing.
"Hopefully people from outside Stockbridge will now start to realise what we have known for a long time; Stockbridge Village has many positive aspects, making it a good area to live and become part of a vibrant and expanding community."
Derek Long, National Housing Federation Assistant Director, adds: "The 'What We Are Proud Of' awards celebrate outstanding projects run by housing associations across the country. Villages Housing Association with the Safer Communities Initiative is a fantastic winner of the regional award. The project highlights how through working in partnership organisations can help create safer and more confident communities in just a short space of time.
"This year's finals showcase that associations in the North West really do have a great deal to be proud of. They are about so much more than bricks and mortar; they are all investing in individuals and communities throughout the region."
As North West regional winner the project is entered into the national competition, the winner of which will be announced at the Federation's Annual Conference in September.
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