That’s the question being asked (and answered?) at the Birmingham Residents University on the morning of Thursday 28th February. Amongst the panel will be a couple of Birmingham’s blogging councillors – Martin Mullaney and Zoe Hopkins (intermitent poster) alongside Salma Yaqoob and Robert Alden.
Anyway what do you think – do you trust your local councillor to act as a champion for your community?
Is there a solution to street racing in Birmingham? Masood Ajaib of the Washwood Heath based community enterprise Commpact thinks there is. He has signed up for an experiment to find a communal way of turning a dangerous Saturday night on Landor Street into a peaceful pastime somewhere safe. Listen here for the conversation or watch here for a sense of the problem:
A short film introducing the work being done in Kingstanding by residents trying to tackle the connection between crime and grime. It was shot for a residents conference in The Hague at the end of this week. No intended to be comprehensive, more a way of allowing groups from The Hague, Birmingham and Glasgow to get a sense of each other’s neighbourhood, aims and problems. Obviously short films can raise far more questions that they answer, which is good because that encourages conversation. Kingstanding Neighbourhood Forum has been taking part in Bimringham’s Community Safety Partnerships Neighbourhood Performance Reward Grant. The pilot, with four residents groups, has been run by the Digbeth Trust. Each group gets a £10,000 grant to meet some agreed targets – often to do with rubbish and grafiti. If they hit their targets the group is arewarded with a £15,000 bonus.
More films coming, plus 4 podcasts from Birmingham which give much more detail of the reward grant.
I’ve been scootling around the place recently making a series of short films as means of introductory pieces for a neighbourhood safety conference in the Hague this coming week. I’ve met four groups from Birmingham and two from The Hague, all working experimenting with ways to give residents more power in reducing grime and the associated crime.
Just before Christmas I also spent an incredibly wet day in Glasgow where I met some very fine people from the city’s shiny new Community and Safety Service. It’s pulling together funding, ideas, equipment and people from all of the different pots of public money aimed at tackling crime and grime.
Of especial interest is the structure. The GCSS is a non-profit company owned by the council, police, fire service and the city’s housing company. I sensed a really positive attitude among the staff I met. They seemed to have more energy and optimism than you might find among council teams in other large cities. Am I doing others a disservice or does the autonomy that can come with creating a social enterprise give the work force a greater confidence in their ability to change things?
Alastair – who appears in the film – was very much a man after my own heart. He’s passionate about how social media can be used to connect neighbourhoods, including maintaining this blog for his home patch in Leith. Other films (which you can find here) and some Grassroots Channel podcasts from Birmingham still to come.