Moss Park Neighbourhood officers were at the All Saints Community Centre last week to serve ice cream and mingle with the clients of the Centre.
The All Saints Community Centre is a safe space and drop-in for the Moss Park community, serving vulnerable people in the area at Dundas and Sherbourne Sts.
Sergeant Sin Chiu was also there, along with three young Youth In Policing Initiative (YIPI) students, to lend a helping hand.
Chiu said that 51 Division receives a lot of free ice cream for their community programs and clubs and she thought visitors to the Community Centre might enjoy some, too.
The Centre has safe hours for women to drop in for a few hours, along with a street nurse working inside the centre, which is also a church, to assist with medical issues. They also provide snacks and a quiet, peaceful place to rest during the day.
Neighbourhood Officers are often called for serious issues but the opportunity to share a laugh over a scoop of chocolate ice cream doesn’t present itself often. Which is why NRO Sue Crawford came down to All-Saints even though it was her day off.
“Everyone gets to see us in a different light, and a different role, and we get to know each other. It’s a nice change for us, too,” said Crawford, who served ice cream alongside Constable Julie Rice. She added it also helps the officers get to know the names and faces of some of the people who visit the centre so that in the future it is easier for officers to assist them in case they need help or just want to stop and chat.
“Someone told me their whole day was made,” said Crawford.
It wasn’t only the officers who helped create a cheerful atmosphere. Three YIPI students were also present to help out, and their work did not go unnoticed.
“You guys are doing a great job. Keep smiling!” said Bryan, a frequent visitor at the centre, to the YIPIs as they handed out cups of ice cream.
“It was good to see people around the community…when you see them on the streets you might judge them. Here you speak to everyone and see them as genuinely nice people,” said YIPI student Tajah Rose-Wilson.
Fellow YIPI student Leona Abayah agreed with Wilson.
“Everyone came back for more ice cream. They asked us questions and made jokes… it was a different perspective,” said the sixteen-year-old.
For Anne Marie Batten, the street nurse who serves the All Saints community, said having NROs and her around as nurse for medical and psychological assistance is like having a crisis-management team for residents of the area.
“I also feel safer in my role here. We have a great working relationship with the Neighbourhood Officers,” said Batten.