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The launch of a new multi-faith community forum attracted leaders from many of Wrexham’s churches last week.
Hosted by the Yellow and Blue Community Hub on Henblas Street, members of the town’s mosque, Catholic Church, Church of England and the Salvation Army were all in attendance.
Wrexham Town’s Sergeant Dave Smith has led on the community engagement initiative and hosted the hour-long session.
Reflecting on the forum’s first meeting, Sgt Smith hopes that further sessions can strengthen cohesion among Wrexham’s residents.
He said: “I’m really pleased with how these initial discussions went.
“It was great to see members of local faith groups take up the invitation to come along.
“Historically as a Force we haven’t had too much involvement with faith leaders – but we recognise that they do a great deal of good within their communities.
“They’re influential in terms of their reach, and they’re a positive force in a lot of people’s lives.
“When setting this meeting up, I didn’t want it to be a box-ticking exercise or just be seen as a photo opportunity for the police.
“It needed to be meaningful, with a focus on building lasting friendships between the police and faith leaders and their congregations.
“It’s about recognising that, regardless of our beliefs or backgrounds, we are one community and we can work together to make a positive difference.
“There’s a lot of positivity within the town right now and we hope we can sustain that through collaboration with the diverse population we have here.”
Among the issues discussed by the panel were mental health signposting, homelessness, drug use, Asian gold thefts, and CCTV coverage.
Panel members also flagged up areas of the town centre which they believe require greater police attention to make the town safer.
Sgt Smith says that he gained valuable insight from the panel’s impressions of Wrexham life, insisting that their unity and shared common purpose will be a key asset.
He said: “I’m not from Wrexham originally, but since I started working here I’ve grown very fond of the town.
“That feeling seems to be shared by everyone who attended, and they were happy to flag up the issues they felt needed to be addressed by the police going forward.
“I was there to make this initial introduction and to listen, so it felt like a really positive first step in taking these meetings forward.”
Further meetings will be held in the weeks and months ahead, with updates to follow on issues raised by the panel.
Anyone with connections to local faith groups within Wrexham and who wishes to attend future meetings can email: [email protected]
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