Our plans were to have 2 teams, one to go onto Tulse Hill estate and the other to go into Brixton (Windrush Sq). We had 6 attend so we had one team go onto Tulse Hill.
When we arrived a group of about 20 young people (between and ages of 12-14) had just finished football training. We said that we were from a local Church and we asked them what they thought could be improved on the estate. They started to talk about the football pitch, which they said was dangerous and said, that many of them had injured themselves playing on it. They told us about the potholes and the gravel. Then another young person said, ‘we always get people asking us what we want and nothing changes. There have been other Churches speak to us and we even spoke to the local MP. We said we wanted astroturf and floodlights because the football pitch is dangerous, but they never come back. All the other estates in Brixton have astroturf. They only help the bad people, no-one listen to us and nothing ever changes.’
We could sense their feeling of distrust and sense of invisibility. We told them we would be back and would do what we could. I asked if we could get another meeting with the MP would they be interested and they said yes.
We decided to look out for some of the older boys to get their views. We spoke to three boys one who was 16 and two who were 18 and asked them what they saw as the needs for the estate. They said the youth club is always closed and the football pitch needs astroturf and floodlight because that would keep the young people out of trouble!
We asked those older boys about themselves and if they were working or studying. One said he had a job; the other 18-year old said he is out of work and was looking for work in retail. We asked if he had a CV and if he needed support looking for work and he said he hasn’t got a CV and would like some help. We took his number and said we would call him to draft a CV for him and support him with job searching. The 16-year-old said that he wanted to go to college but missed the chance to enrol at college. He said he wanted to be a motorcycle mechanic. We will search to see if there is an apprenticeship he can apply for.
We will be inviting the boys to the Church for support.
We sent an email to the local MP and awaiting a response.
Keep us in your prayers