This is the story of Chris Hoare: a grandfather who’s worked for years to clear prostitution from the Waterworks Estate on the borders of Edgbaston and Ladywood in inner-city Birmingham. His neighbours were so fearful of the pimps that they asked Chris to step up and take action. To find out why he did it this way please listen to the podcast.
The tower over Chris’s shoulder is Perrott’s Folly – a building with links to Tolkien. He worked with the Birmingham Conservation Trust (declaration – I’m a trustee!) to prevent the building’s collapse. Next steps are to use it as a tourist draw, turning what was once a neighbourhood riddled with vice into an international family attraction.
The residents have also transformed many of their communal areas. Chris is standing in front of Anderton Gardens, a new garden named after a police sergeant who worked with them. (created with help from Groundwork Birmingham)
The pragmatic approach of Chris and others in the Birmingham South West residents group reminds me of so many others we’ve spoken to on the Grassroots Channel, especially the people of Perry Common and Masood Yasin in Washwood Heath.
Thanks to Paul from the Chamberlain Forum for introducing me to Chris.
Chris’s story is very heartening. In the light of recent fearmongering tales of violent acts committed against those who dare to speak up, Chris reminds us that communities should take control of their neighbourhoods.
Thanks for the report, podnosh – I like the brave 15s of silence as we anticipate the grim location Chris is leading us to.