Hope Report by Bobby - Heath Town, Park Village, Eastfield, Springfield and Old Heath Newshounds

The views expressed by our Newshounds are their own, and reflect their feelings and thoughts about the areas where they live.


Anxiously walking through Heath Town, many fear its reputation for crime, as it is one of the most dangerous areas of Wolverhampton. However, amidst the hate and violence lies ‘Hope’ a non-government funded charity which gives the troubling youth of Heath Town and other areas of Wolverhampton hope and optimism for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the children of Heath Town and Wolverhampton are incredibly vulnerable, from young ages these children are exposed to hate, violence, crime, drugs etc. How can any child be exposed to this great level of violence? However, it is happening; on the streets of Wolverhampton, there is an unprecedented number of children who are isolated and helpless, ‘Hope’ reaches out to these children. ‘Hope’, as the name suggests, gives these children hope, optimism and dreams for the first time in their lives, just as every child should have.

‘Hope’ began in 1985, when two Catholic sisters set it up to help the people of Heath Town, the services of ‘Hope’ have changed since 1985, to reflect and respond to the needs of the local community, for example, they offer services such as English lessons to compensate for the large number of immigrants living in Heath Town. This is incredibly important as there are many people living in Heath Town who cannot speak or understand English, therefore their lives are heavily affected by this. Despite this, what hasn’t changed is their commitment to helping people who are experiencing difficulties or people who are disadvantaged or excluded by society. It is this factor that makes ‘Hope’ such an amazing and life changing charity.

There are several services which ‘Hope’ provides, one of which is visiting elderly homes and arranging day trips for the elderly. This is incredibly important due to the high number of pensioners who suffer from loneliness and lonesomeness. The elderly are left abandoned in their old care homes, abandoned to just stare at the same walls every single day. ‘Hope’ brings purpose and excitement back to their lives and supports them, bringing them happiness, something they have missed for a large amount of time. In addition, ‘Hope’ offers support for women who suffer from domestic abuse and helps them escape the horrendous mistreatment and injustice that they have faced their whole lives. This is essential as domestic abuse is on the rise. Furthermore, ‘Hope’ runs a youth group and gives one-to-one advice to enable young people to make informed decisions. The youth club includes school clubs, social groups, outings and workshops. This enables them to provide social opportunities, fun, friendship and support to the youth. Children of Heath Town are indoctrinated into a world full of hate, crime and violence. Educating or raising awareness around areas such as gang activity, teenage abuse drug addiction and child exploitation has never been so vital. ‘Hope’ and other youth centres is the solution to such ssues in Wolverhampton, however, ‘Hope’ is the only youth centre in Heath Town and it does not have the capacity or the funding to help everyone.

We spoke to Dianne Garbett, one of the only workers in ‘Hope’. Dianne exclaimed “Gang activity and online safety is a huge concern in Wolverhampton, especially Heath Town, Hope is essential in ensuring that young people are not vulnerable and are fully educated in the dangers of gangs and social media”. Later, Dianne also stated that there was no government funding for ‘Hope’ and that there was a huge shortage of workers and Hope depends on amazing volunteer staff. ‘Hope’ holds summer activities, after school clubs and weekend activities for youths to take part in completely free of charge. We were give an amazing opportunity to visit ‘Hope’ and speak to their amazing staff members.

West Midlands Safari Park - All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Newshounds Update 6

As the six weeks holiday draw a close, many children are coming back from family holidays or going to local parks with friends for last minute endless fun. Aspiring Futures decided to combine family + fun with a trip to West Midlands Safari Park. As we went on the safari some of us were given cameras to capture what we saw and did. We discovered the rare white tiger. The reason they don’t look like a typical orange one are due to a lack of yellow and red pigment development at birth. They were real cool.

We also saw hippos, giraffes, ostriches and antelope. After the safari we got to go into the main park to look at dinosaurs, amphibians and go on the ride. I enjoyed this, spending time with my friends and looking at new animals. Here are some pictures we took:

Teen health - Heath Town, Park Village, Eastfield, Springfield and Old Heath Update 2

soccer-1591903_1920.jpg

You come home from a long day at school. Changing into some workout clothes, you fill up your bottle of water and go for a run. If not, you go to the gym, or some form of exercise club. When you get home, you grab an apple and help your mom make a lentil lasagne for dinner. While it cooks, you go upstairs and do your homework. After dinner, you do the dishes and then watch television for an hour. You then get your stuff ready for school the next day, and go to bed at 9 to ensure that you get at least 9 hours sleep.

Does this sound like your evenings? If so then well done, if not, you’re probably no different to the majority of kids your age. This however, does not make it right. The average teen gets around 7 hours of sleep, when in reality, they need between 9 and 9 half hours. But why do kids stay up so late?

Phones

It is said that teens are spending an average of 9 hours consuming media each day. Whether it be listening to music, watching videos, texting, reading etc. But do they spend the same amount of time sleeping? Maybe parents should allow their kids a certain amount of tv/mobile phone time each day, or maybe the teen can do it themself! If you say to yourself, ‘Okay so I’ll spend 2 hours on homework, and then watch an hour long tv program and spend an hour on my phone.’ By organising and having structure, we can ensure that there is a balance.

Diet

Diet is also a major problem with Britain’s teens. If you go to LA, you’ll find Smoothie Stops around every corner.  Here you’ll more than likely find a Mcdonalds or a KFC. Obesity is responsible for about 1 in 10 deaths in Britain, and costs the NHS £5.1 billion each year.

But let’s be honest. You can go to Mcdonalds and get a cheeseburger for 99p. But if you want to go to subway, for a healthier sandwich, you’re looking at £3.50. It’s not hard to see why teens are more likely to go to Mcdonalds than Subway. It’s “Cheap and Cheerful.” Fast food that tastes nice, but not at a large price.

So how can we solve the problem?

Britain needs healthier takeaway places. We have Vegetarians, Pescatarians, Flexitarians, Pollotarians, Vegans and a whole lot more. What do we have for them? We need to start catering for the minority, and even if you do eat meat, you should still be able to eat somewhere healthy that isn’t three times the price.  Eating healthy should be a cheap and easy option. It’s also important that the food tastes nice. Nobody is going to choose dairy free chocolate over the normal one, because it taste’s unpleasant in comparison. We need to make our teens eat healthy because they want to. You’re much more likely to do something if you enjoy it, than if you have to.

Exercise

Exercise is a vital element of staying fit. Sure, kids have PE, but do they enjoy it? Teens should have a range of activities they can do in PE, it shouldn’t just be a case of today everyone’s going to do this or that sport weather you like it or not. because we’re all different and enjoy different things.

It’s a known fact that girls exercise a lot less than guys, a problem that the government is now addressing with nationwide media coverage of the women’s national football and cricket team. The idea is that by exposing girls to women participating in sports, they’ll be influenced to start sports themselves. It’s a step in the right direction but a bigger step would be to provide PE activities that girls enjoy. Like what? Well a lot of girls like dancing to music so why not incorporate dance classes or aerobic into PE for girls. I’ve taken dance classes, and found it really enjoyable. The secret to winning this battle of getting girls to exercise is to give them an activity they enjoy so you won’t have to push them to do it.

We also need more youth gyms. You can’t join the majority of gyms unless you’re 16, and under 16’s need to exercise as well. Perhaps there should be specific days at the gym where under 16’s can work out. Sure there needs to be an age limit, maybe 12-16, and there could be a set day and time every week where teens in this age group are able to use the gym for a small fee. Teens need to be encouraged to exercise and stay fit. A lot of clubs say that the first lesson is free, which is great! This allows the child to experience the sport and see if they like it with nothing to lose. The gyms should also do girls only sessions, as some girls may feel self-conscious, and having a girls only session will encourage them to go to the gym more. Gyms should also have free aerobics sessions for girls. You may think that they’ll lose money, but the money will be gained by less obesity health issues, the NHS won’t have to spend so much money on obesity illness, and childhood obesity won’t be as common.

Water

The last topic I want to cover is water. Teens nowadays consume large amounts of juices and fizzy drinks that are full of sugar. The healthiest option is to drink water. Our bodies are made up of 70% water which goes down throughout the day as we sweating and moving and general living. This needs replacing to stop us dehydrating. I try to drink at least 2 litres a day, sometimes more, sometimes less, but at least two litres. We could also lower the prices of water to make it more accessible.

Some water drinking tips that helped me.

1 Drink while you exercise.

I consume a lot of water when I’m working out. When you’re out of breath, it’s a lot easy to drink water than when you’re laying at home in front of the tv.

2 Add stuff to your water.

This doesn’t help me personally, but I know a lot of people that find it useful. Some people add a slice of lemon, which is great for clearing your system, but you can use whatever fruit you want. Strawberries, blueberries you can even add cucumber. People like add honey, which gives the water a bit of flavour.

3 Get a bottle.

Getting a bottle really helped me drink a lot more water. It was easier because I can carry the bottle around with me instead of constantly having to fill up a glass. Sometimes I drink two 1 litre bottles, or four 500ml bottles. It depends on what’s easier for you.

4 Dilute your juice

It can be pretty hard to go straight from fizzy drinks to water, so try diluting your fruit juice or fizzy drinks with a little water and then day by day, add a little more water until there is more water than juice. You’ll be drinking just water before you know it.

Summary

Being healthy can be fun and enjoyable, but it’s up to you. Being healthy isn’t easy, as we naturally choose the unhealthy option, but you can do it with determination and perseverance. Having good health has countless benefits, and your body will thank you. Eating junk and not exercising may seem fine now, but when you get older, you’ll feel it.

I strongly believe that if you get teens active while they’re young, it’ll be a lot easier than getting them while they’re older.                                                                                  

All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Newshounds Update 5 - What's cooking at ASAN?

ASAN food 6.jpg

We went to find out at what was cooking over at ASAN last week. They got stuck in with baking potatoes, grating cheese and limes, cutting vegetables and tiding up as they went along. Enthusiasm and lots of elbow working went into to creating the lunch for themselves and the local gardeners at All Saints Road. 

“Food brings people together – just don’t eat too much!”

Two of the girls had met in previous sessions and bonded over common interests such as dance and the love of baking. Athalia said:

They went on to say they have made all sorts of dishes including crab, rice and chicken. It makes us hungry just thinking about it so here are snaps of what we saw

Guru Nanak Satsang Gurdwara - Heath Town, Park Village, Eastfield, Springfield and Old Heath NewsHounds Update 1

Outside Gurwara.png

As we walked around Park Village area, I noticed it is a very multicultural area. As we walked down the Cannock road towards the direction of town. there was a large Gurdwara on the left-hand side. Guru Nanak Sastang Gurdwara.

As we walked in, we stepped into a large foyer area filled with loads of different posters advertising various activities that the Gurdwara was offering. Beyond the foyer was a large hall with many chairs and tables, we were welcomed by quite a few people who very quickly offered us a tour of the Gurdwara and were happy to answer all our question. We learnt that the large hall area was where the gurdwara offered Langar, ‘free food at any time of day open to all people, no matter of religion or race.’

Inside Gurdwara.jpg

We were then told to cover our heads with the scarves offered in a large basket. As we followed the gentleman named Ravi up the stairs he opened the doors to another beautiful hall. It was one of the most beautifully decorated rooms I had ever seen. With drapes of net across the ceiling of the hall leading up to the ‘sixth living Guru,’ as we were informed by Ravi. He informed us that people of any religion are welcome to come and pray at the gurdwara at any time, although Sikhs are asked to pray 3 times a day once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Also, that youths were able come to the Gurdwara and learn ‘geet’ and ‘Shabad Kirtan’ wherein the Sikh scriptures are recited to music.

The Gurdwara was very welcoming, and we were very lucky to be given the opportunity to pick up so much new information and how the Gurdwara are welcoming to all ages, ethnicities and races to give Park Village a more community feel.

by Bobby

All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Update 4 - ASAN Multi-sports

According to the NHS children from the age of 5-18 need to be doing something physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. This can include moderate cycling, walking with friends to school or skateboarding.  For more heart pumping moves they can do dancing, football or even martial arts. 

ASAN are one of the leading organisations in our area for multi-sport activities over this summer. With their recently refurbished astro turf just on the All Saints Road we caught up with some of the regulars who are fully immersed in the game. The Peer support coordinator for the activities Jon Lee said:

“The multi-sports activities has enabled young people to make friends, learn new skills and improve their balance and co-ordination.”

All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Update 3 - Aspiring Futures Girls' Club

What do all girls want to be? Unique that’s for sure. Last Saturday at Place To Go with Aspiring Futures they created their own individual t-shirt designs. The first 10 mins were spent brainstorming what they wanted them to look like. Stencil designs and inspiration from google images helped with designing the final looks. There was a beautiful blend of heritage and love that went into each one; the effort showcased was felt with the picture we took of all of them once they had finished.

If you could design your own t-shirt what would it be? Comment below!

Bilston East Newshounds Update 4 - Gazebo Theatre Family Fun Summer Days

Summer Fun.jpg

During week 3 at Gazebo Theatre, the young people participated in Drama Exercises and Acting Techniques aimed to help develop emotional wellbeing and resilience, problem solving skills and empathy, improve peer relationships and encourage goals and aspirations.

Comments from the young people included:

  • “It’s improving my confidence”
  • “I’m smiling and communicating more”
  • “This is awesome”
  • “I’m gaining more social skills
  • “I’ve just learned to tie my lace”
  • “It’s hard to concentrate, but I’m getting better”
  • “I’m trusting people more”

Next week’s sessions will challenge the young people to make  their very own T.V magazine programme.

All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Update 2 - Positive Participation

Positive Participation 1a.jpg

What makes young people happy? Quite a lot it seems! Positive Participation are one the community organisations doing activities over the summer for families. Wednesday was the planning workshop for children to come in and get creative with original ideas for an open day event for the community taking place on 9th of September at The Bob Jones Community Hub. Check out some of pictures below with answers from the participants.

Things that really stood out were:

  • An active job
  • Good environment
  • Creating a platform that brings change so new leaders can be born

Bilston East Newshounds Update 3 - More Highlights!

Throughout the Bilston East area a number of workshops are taking place delivering an array of activities to support and entertain 10-16 year olds and families. Over the course of the summer holidays they will be learning new skills such as team work and building friendships as well as working together to solve problems and work towards their personal goals.

After talking to a number of youngsters taking part in these workshops here are a few of their goals for the summer:

“Getting along with people and just making new friends” - Presley

“Getting here on time to not miss any of it!” - Keisha

“More confidence, more knowledge” - Sarlotte

In addition to this here is an insight into some of the activities they have been up to:

Whilst documenting the summer programmes we are also running film workshops in the Bilston East area to teach the young people some basic filming skills that they can take away with them and use to make videos of their own. Below are a few snaps of us in action at Lower Bradley along with some comments about what they learnt;

“I have learnt to act and use equipment for behind the scenes in a workshop today” - Krystal

“I have learnt about a movie set and how it looks and how it could help me be a better youtuber” - Theo

“I have learnt that there is a boom pole and how to use a camera, also I have learnt not to be shy in front of the camera” -  Chloe

The next film workshop is next week Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd August at Bilston Town Hall where we will be creating content for a news show as well as presenting and filming.

All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall Newshounds Update 1 - Aspiring Futures C.I.C. Girls Youth Club

The Aspiring Futures C.I.C. Girls Youth Club hair and beauty sessions have been enlightening and educational. With many different girls and women walking the planet we aimed to find common interests and skills that many of them possess. Then breaking down the positives and negatives young girls hear or are told on a daily basis formed a good rounded conversation.

Positive affirmations included:

  • I will not be afraid to discover new things
  • Be confident around others
  • Never give up and always stand up for myself

Positive words expressed were:

  • Pretty, Beautiful, Cute, Bold, Kind

Withe negative words such as:

  • Loner, Smelly, Annoying, Ugly

This was followed by hair and beauty skills with nail art, hair styles and make-up tutorials.

The Girls Youth Club is part of the HeadStart Summer Programme for All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall - see here for details of this and other activities.

Bilston East Newshounds Update 2 - Gazebo Theatre Family Fun Days

Here's a little insight in to what Gazebo have been up to at Bilston Town Hall this last week, from crafts and poetry to drama. More exciting things to follow including film workshops on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd August, a family film day Friday 25th August, and the opportunity to create and perform a play in a week, week commencing 28th August

For more information get in touch with the Town Hall on 01902 497222. For more information about the programme at Bilston Town Hall, visit http://www.headstartonline.co.uk/summer2017area-c/

Bilston East Newshounds Update 1: 4th August 2017

From Grant and Callan

This week we have started collecting footage for the Headstart summer project. We have filmed at the Lower Bradley Community centre, Bilston Town Hall and Bilston Methodist Church. Unfortunately the weather hasn't been so good for the outdoor activities at Coronation Park but we are looking forward to heading over there next week!

I think that the project, so far, has been really fun because I have been able to use different cameras and further develop my knowledge on camera settings and improve my filming skills. I have also enjoyed travelling around Bilston.
— Callan
As of yet I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it’s allowed me to use my creative skillset through film. Having the opportunity to practise shooting with my own camera has been great while also learning how to operate a monopod.
— Grant