Following concerns from businesses that the state of neglect and misuse of the street was impacting on their ability to trade, the group has been considering this and other aspects of the street, and trying to come up with practical proposals for improvement. More information on this can be found under the ELDER PLACE tab on the menu above.
One theme has been about making the area feel safer, and so far we have been thinking about the street from the perspective of adults – businesses wanting to trade, people wanting to park their cars or walk through the area. Thanks to the work of local children charity SafetyNet we can add to this a bit about what our children think.
SafetyNetKids recently worked with Year 6 classes at St Bartholomew’s School; that’s children aged 10-11 years of age, teaching assertiveness and personal safety techniques and awareness. They carried out a large scale consultation to discover what the children felt were important issues for their community and what affected their safety.
The children’s responses covered a range of issues experienced across a wide geographical area, and Emma from SafetyNetKids has shared those responses with us. The illustrated comments below were selected from the broader list of issues as being particularly concerned with Providence Park, Providence Place, Elder Place and New England area.
Drugs, mugging, graffiti, alcohol misuse; things we might all recognise as problems in our area. For adults, the presence of these aspects in our streets can be unwelcome, unpleasant or intimidating. To our children the negative experience can be magnified.
At age 11 children are starting to explore their neighbourhood independently, and it is vital for their development into resilient independent, self assured and confident young people that they should be able to do so in safety and free from fear. For a properly improved public place, whatever solutions and initiatives which we might put together for Elder Place need to reflect and respond to the needs of our children.
Thanks to Emma Lacey from Safety Net Kids and the Children of St Bartholomew School for their insight and comments. All rights reserved: please to not use or repost images in any format without consent.
For further information about this work, contact Emma Lacey [Emma.Lacey@safety-net.org.uk]