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.