Southern Co-operatives has opened a community advice centre in Sussex, in partnership with the local council and police.
The Yapton Advice Partnership, based above the Co-op store in the village, is a partnership involving Southern Co-operatives, Sussex Police and Yapton Parish Council. Its aim is to give local people easy access to police and council and help the community deal with a rise in anti-social behaviour.
Speaking at the opening, loss prevention and compliance manager Gareth Lewis said retailers needed to do more in their communities to help reduce anti-social behaviour, but he pointed out that there was also a strong financial incentive behind Southern Co-op's support of the initiative.
He explained: "We felt we had a responsibility as an important business in the village to tackle these problems but, of course, it also makes good business sense to look after our customers."
Gareth acknowledged that it was not always easy for bigger groups to become involved in local issues, but he insisted the benefits were worth the effort.
"Even if increasing the bottom line is the only driver influencing the decision, then it is worth doing it," he said.
The Yapton project will be open to the community each Saturday between 9am and noon, and will also be supported by an increase in policing in the area.
Sussex Police chief inspector Brian Bracher said that after listening to the community's concerns it would prioritise the issues and tackle each in order of importance.