Story and photo by Safiya Saeed
On 10th January, local women, community groups and statutory services came together to host a series of workshops around serious issues in the Burngreave area.
I hosted the event, having witnessed how worried parents are about increases in stabbings and shootings in the area. We know how the community needs assurance from the police and the local council that people in Burngreave will get full support to have a safer future for our families.
We broke into groups to discuss three key areas of concern – around education (with a group chaired by Counillor Jackie Drayton), neighbourhood safety and mental health (chaired by Inspector Chris Lewis, Inspector Ben Hall and Ursula Myrie from ADIRA, mental health support), and community activities (chaired by Kathryn Mudge from Active Burngreave).
In these groups, we began identifying key issues, and tried to develop a few solutions. Apart from the wider social issues, such as unemployment and the under-resourcing of services, all the groups agreed that one of the major problems was the lack of activities for teenagers in the area, especially in school holidays.
It was also thought that a lack of coordination and communication between groups, leads to an unawareness of those activities and support which are available.
The workshops were productive and there will be a follow up meeting to keep the communication with mothers open.
Several key pledges were made:
- South Yorkshire Police to map existing activities
- South Yorkshire Police to improve communication
- Sheffield City Council (Gangs Unit) to recruit local community leaders as (paid) mentors to ensure staff represent a wider demographic (BAME) – in partnership with Active Burngreave
- Cllr Jackie Drayton to work with Kathryn Mudge to increase community usage at Verdon Recreation Centre.
- Active Burngreave to commission funding to local groups and individuals who want to deliver activities in Burngreave
- Active Burngreave to provide training for local people to enable them to lead activities in the future
- The community and services to come together to run future events like this one
We have to work as one to help our children and young people to feel safer, we have to support each other in order to move forward.