At this year’s MJ Awards we sponsored a new award – the Behaviour Change award. We had a mixed bag of applicants, a few of them were good, and one was really good – Derry City Council, who won this years Behaviour Change Award. Derry City Council had an endemic problem with underage drinking in the town centre and all the social problems, fear and crime that go with this.
In taking a different approach they managed to build trust – and relationships – between the different parts of the community, particularly between older people and younger people. A series of interventions were applied all at the same time – something else to do, communication, retailers being brought on board etc – which have reduced crime by 43% and costs too. But I’ll leave it to a local pensioner to describe the benefits:
Pensioner Lily O’Hagan, who lives in Rosemount, said it had changed her life: “You could not even sit in your living room because the crowds gathered outside. The language and behaviour was something desperate,” she said. They now speak to you and say hello. It is really fantastic”.
Most places still don’t know how to deal with this – NB Bangor in Wales which has just introduced a curfew for under 16s between 9pm and 5am in the town centre.
Customer Behaviour Change
“It is a fantastic achievement and one that the community in the area where the project has been working will be really proud of. Seven people who are involved in the event, together with the Deputy Mayor of Derry City Council travelled over to the ceremony as we had been shortlisted in three categories, we all agreed that your category was the one we most wanted to be recognised for.”
Karen Phillips, Senior Environmental Health Officer at Derry City Council and coordinator of the Civic Alcohol Forum and the Challenging Underage Drinking Initiative