30
May
09

Call For New Community Group in Pleasley Hill

Pleasley Hill is often looked down upon as a poor, unsightly area. A place of drugs, anti-social behaviour, poverty and depression. In the 10 years I have lived here, I have experienced many negative reactions when I have told people where I live. The council are clearly embarrassed by the area, as frankly they should be. As any landlord should that lets his property fall in to the state of disrepair that this area has.

With the arrogance of authority, many councillors, politicians and members of the establishment display, it is easy to see how they confirm their opinions of this area on sight. The stigma attached to living in Pleasley Hill has even cost some people job interviews, credit, and who knows what else. In many ways it has cost the people of the area a quality of life and a dignity that most people take for granted. Mansfield Council has largely abandoned Pleasley Hill during my time here. As the Coal Board did before them. And although there has been much talk over the years of redevelopment, little has materialised in that time.

In a meeting on Wednesday 6th May of the Western Area Assembly, the residents of Pleasley Hill were given the latest date that the council expect to move forward with their plans. A date that has always been much like the date of the apocalypse. Predicted often, but is yet to actually happen. Many residents said that this had been going on for 7, 10, and one said 15 years.

Pleasley Hill, the "Gateway to Mansfield"

Pleasley Hill, the "Gateway to Mansfield"

Regardless of whether or not the redevelopment of the area moves along as planned, it doesn’t excuse the years of neglect, and the suffering of the residents. Every day we and our families have to walk streets filled with rubbish. Past empty house after empty house. Avoiding sewage from drains that have overflown on our streets. Or watching out for needles callously left stuck in road crossing buttons. And we have to tolerate a stigmatised view of our homes.

Employers, and businesses are no better. Many now check out their potential employee’s address on the internet. This generalises people unfairly. It degrades us and it tars everyone with the same brush, regardless of their personal circumstances. It is a prejudice just like racism, discrimination based on where we live. A popular site for this is upmystreet.com which says:

“Often, many of the people who live in this sort of postcode will be low income families living in terraced estates.

Neighbourhoods fitting this profile can be found throughout the country, including in Motherwell, Knowsley, Dagenham, Hartlepool and Sunderland.

These are poor families in low-rise estates.

To be earning anything approaching an average income is rare. Long-term unemployment is high, and employment is routine factory or manual work.

Travel is on foot or by public transport since few own a car.

With money tight, food shopping might be in Aldi or Kwik Save.

In common with other low income types, the pub, betting, football pools, lottery and bingo are common activities and entertainments. One luxury might be cable TV.”

Mansfield council also offer on their web site a “neighbour hood profile” which at best paints an ugly picture. It Describes in a cold detached way how the area is among the 10% most disadvantaged in the country. It details, categorises, and pigeon-holes the residents of Pleasley Hill as a series of numbers to be improved upon. Targets. A complex equation to be balanced.

But there is more to Pleasley Hill than people believe. We are not numbers, or profiles. We are people. We are a community.

As I walk around this area, I do see a community of people. People whose children play together. People who donate to each other, and people who share their skills and their labour when their neighbours need a hand. Yes there are divisions in our own community. But when we stop and think, we are united by so much. When I walk out my door, people are friendly, and talkative. What is lacking in Pleasley Hill is not community, but organisation. It is organisation that has brought about change for communities throughout history. It is organisation that makes authority listen. And it is organisation that has freed people throughout history.

An organised community has the strength to hold its council to account. The ability to enact change through pressure. And it has the power, if it so chooses to reject the authority of the council, and take control of its own future.

This newsletter is about addressing these issues. It is a call to all the people of Pleasley Hill to put aside any differences we may have, and to work together to create a future for ourselves. A future for Pleasley Hill in which we have a say. A future for ourselves in a time when the future we were promised is so uncertain.

This is a call for the formation of a group with the ability to shape the future of Pleasley Hill. Founded on the principles of shared circumstance and mutual aid. Between us we have the skills, adaptability and resources to set whatever target we want for our selves. And by acting in solidarity and union we have the ability to make our targets a reality.

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1 Response to “Call For New Community Group in Pleasley Hill”



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