Several small groups of neighbours meet for coffee and cake around Aylesbury, but socialising isn’t their only aim.
They’re on the alert for doorstep rogue traders.
Joyce, who runs one of them every few weeks, invites their local community police officer to update these eight or nine vulnerable residents on the latest doorstep crime intelligence, and to give advice on warding off the scammers.
“Of course they like to socialise in their small group,’ says Joyce, ‘but our coffee mornings give them security, and they’re able to talk about what concerns them, and what to look for in their neighbourhood.”
Joyce (we agreed to withhold her surname given the vulnerable people she works with) started her group around five years ago through a desire to give something back to her community in gratitude for the help local police have given her over the years, and from a desire to help keep her neighbours safe from doorstep crime.
She says face-to-face contact is particularly important because none of them has access to the internet and email.
Joyce and the group keep in phone contact and she says the coffee mornings build confidence among her neighbours. ‘It’s important to them that they have a circle of friends whom they can meet with.’
Buckinghamshire Trading Standards Officer Chris Holden says he offers talks to groups like Joyce’s on handling doorstep callers.