Brockville Police close community hub

The Brockville Police Service are officially shutting down the Bartholomew Community Hub project at the end of August. Brockville Police Chief Scott Fraser said the pilot has had great results over the past three years its been around, but the time has come for the Brockville Police to step away.

As of right now there is not another community hub that will take over for the Bartholomew Community Hub in Brockville. 

Police Chief Scott Fraser stated that community partners wanted the hub to continue but as government grants are becoming scarce, they are reluctant to take on the commitment. He said the lack of grant opportunities also was a factor in the department’s decision.

The hub idea came about around four years ago as the when Brockville Police were brainstorming ideas on how to engage the community and residents of social housing in the Bartholomew Street area. 

The police service was given a unit rent-free in the social housing development and it renovated the space to include a play area, kitchen, accessible washroom and office space for community agencies to meet clients.

The main idea for this hub was  to deliver such programs as children’s activities, a drop-in centre and a clothing exchange, and to help people learn to cook or teach them how to look for a job. Getting the community involved and helping.

Fraser said the hub model had some initial successes, but that it also had some flaws.

Some examples of the pros and cons were:

– There was a widespread impression that the hub was only for people living in the Bartholomew area when it was aimed at the entire city, he said. 

-Transportation was a real problem with low-income people finding it hard to gain access if they couldn’t walk there.

-there was a continuing stigma around approaching the hub for help

– Some people were wary of approaching police.

The department solved the last problem by hiring a coordinator to run the hub, but she has left for a new job, said the chief.

From a policing standpoint, the hub was successful, Fraser said. Crime in the area was running at 78 calls a year in 2004 and 48 calls in 2012. The hub was opened in 2016 and by 2018 the calls had dropped to 28 a year.