PIONEERING Bury is to show the nation how to set up and expand successful community safety warden schemes.

The town holds the country's first conference next week to share its expertise with others looking to follow in the borough's footsteps.

Up to 100 delegates are expected at Bury Town Hall next Thursday (Feb 1) for the event which is being organised through the Government's Neighbourhood Wardens Unit.

Bury's wardens have been praised for reducing crime and generally helping residents in the town centre, and patrols are now being sent to other parts of the borough. Wardens are recruited from the unemployed, and more are needed to replace those who leave after their period of work ends.

Mr Ged McGee, Bury's Community Safety Warden manager, said that councils were trying out a range of different approaches and schemes. Pilot councils like Bury were meeting the cost of warden schemes through normal budgets or special grants through the Single Regeneration Budget, New Deal and the Neighbourhood Warden Grant.

"What is important is that we share our experiences and find out what works and what does not," he said.

Councillor Derek Boden, council leader, said the conference was the first of its kind.

"It should provide an excellent opportunity for local authorities and other organisations, from the police to registered social landlords, to familiarise themselves with recent developments," he said.

"We have been proud to pioneer the wardens initiative and have been encouraging others to follow our example.

"We are happy to host the first regional conference and hope that it will set a benchmark for others to follow."

During the day there will be various presentations, workshops and discussions about the way agencies, such as the police, work with wardens.

Coun Boden anticipated that a formal regional network will be set up to help expand the scheme.