So what’s the best way to set up a new Watch?
Watches can have physical boundaries and be for a road, set of roads, estate, block of flats etc., and typically be less than 100 households. Or a Watch can be without hard boundaries and be for a larger community. The latter is ideal for using social media as the communication medium and can cover thousands of households. There is no minimum (or maximum) size that a Watch should be.
When totalling the number of households your Watch would cover, you will also need to consider how many helpers you would need in order to run it and also to provide cover for holidays, etc. Larger Watches of over 50 homes will probably need a deputy/assistant. Social media-based Watches will need more than one administrator so that any mediation of posts is available at all times.
The very first action you will need to take in forming a Watch is to canvass your neighbours in order to find out about what amount of support you would receive. Drop a letter to each household explaining that you would like to set up a Watch, and explain the advantages to them of being in one. If you receive an encouraging response, then you will need to arrange for a meeting of the residents in order to discuss the proposal further. Ideally a representative of the WAN committee should be invited to assist you with this meeting. From experience, Watches with “hard” boundaries works with email as the best medium for communication, and Watches with virtual boundaries work much better with social media. There is no problem with having a Virtual Watch for a larger area that includes many “hard” Watches within its area. Each Watch will need someone who is nominated Lead Coordinator.
A short guide is available in pdf format which can be printed to help you start your Watch. Just click on the link below:
Before setting up a social media-based “Virtual” Watch see the “Using Social media” link in the menu at the top of the page.
It is important to note that the duties of a coordinator are not onerous and can be adjusted to suit the Watch. Some Watches are extremely active, whilst others can be low-key (yet still effective).
GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation for Co-ordinators. From May 2018 all Watches need to meet the government’s GDPR.