by Julia Basnett
Resident and business groups have recently emerged to both support and wake-up the Council into identifying taggers and take stronger action against vandals by issuing fines and banning them from the City, where feasible. These groups include BRAT ‘Business and Residents Against Tagging’ (see www.brat.org.uk – and this article). Another is Graffiti Go.
I offer part-time support to Russell Martin Foundation (RMF) youth project called Extra Time based at Trinity Hall, Carlton Hill and as a gardener for White Street Community Garden (WSCG) I have run planting out sessions with young people tending a patch in the community garden.
The WSCG is on Edward Street and faces Kebbell Lodge on the opposite side. We became aware that Lodge residents were blighted by tagging on an overlooking wall as well as disturbed by persons gathering in the secluded space next to the tagged wall.
Lodge Resident pensioner Wendy Pearson, was regularly kept awake by late night disturbances outside her ground floor flat. She said ‘the heavily tagged wall was so depressing but made even worse by a communal bin that enabled anti-social people to congregate unseen”.
We decided to take positive community action.
On May 25th, in collaboration with Kebble Lodge tenants; the Russell Martin Foundation (RMF) and the White Street Community Garden (WSCG); Adrian Hart and myself along with a team of young people painted over the tagging.
The council’s Environmental Enforcement team supported the initiative by supplying paint, brushes and rollers.
Adrian Hart is a founder of the garden and a member of BRAT.
Additionally, members of WSCG then fitted a trellis onto the wall, donated by B & Q.
We plan to take further action to grow plants up the trellis to improve the aesthetics of the entrance to Kebble Lodge for all residents and passers-by and to deter tagging vandalism.
This is just one example of how a community can pull together to take positive action and improve lives, the environment and residents well being.
Working with members of BRAT and other organisations, residents and businesses can use creativity and positive actions to help clean up our city. And hopefully our paid Enforcement Officers and police officers will focus attention on enforcing the law and vastly reducing the systematic vandalism of our city.