Aspire & Succeed - A Local Conversation in Lozells

20 November 2015

“Our plan has always been to start out small and build momentum rather than starting with a bang and being a flash in the pan.”

“There have been two riots in Lozells in the last ten years and a lot of people worry about anti-social behaviour and their safety. Over the years, there has been a lot of investment in the area but many of the people living here feel they can’t see any impact. Workers would come here during the day and decide what they thought would make the area better and then at 5pm they’d leave and go back to their homes miles away.

"With the Local Conversations programme it’s different. When we started talking to people they wanted to get involved with the project because they recognised us, we were born and raised here, so they’ve got faith that this time they’ll actually see a change.

"Although Lozells is in the top two percent of deprived neighbourhoods in England, residents see it as a progressive place to live. There has been a lot happening since we launched our Local Conversation which has been funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by HealthBright through The Health Lottery.

"Residents are working together to develop a shared vision for our community. The project has given us an opportunity to address local issues that matter to us. One big problem we have in Lozells is ‘grot spots’ where anything from mattresses to bags of meat are dumped. If we just go round and clean up then we’re only finding a temporary fix but by going round and talking to people we’re starting to find longer-term solutions.

"It’s all about listening to people. One mum came to us and asked if she could set up an English for Speakers of Other Languages mums’ group which we supported her with. Our approach is... ‘If I give you the key, will you lead?’

"This approach has really helped us to engage with people, they feel like they’re involved from the very start and that’s really exciting. There is a real buzz around Lozells since the project began. People are excited about being in control of their own lives.”

Shale Ahmed

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