In 2001, I worked for the Greater Easterhouse Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP). In my job I frequently organised meetings in Cranhill with youth groups, women’s groups, tenants and resident associations and representatives from the local churches. Much of the funding for the SIP budget went into organising summer activities and projects to feed young people whose parents lacked the resources to provide 3 square meals a day.
At the time Cranhill was in the process of physical transformation with residents moving away and the mass demolition of poorly built tenements from the late 50s and 60s. There was a vision for a new Cranhill whether local people liked it or not. Unfortunately for residents at the time the new vision involved putting up with a lot of derelict sites, few meeting places and the all-pervasive dust thrown up by the mighty diggers and wrecking balls.
Over the years I’ve been back many times to work with a variety of groups including the Cranhill Action Group and I’ve seen the new Cranhill rise from the dust.
Naturally, I was pleased to attend Cranhill Development Trusts PB Event – The School Holidays ‘Your Voice Your Choice’ Event. The theme of the event was about voting for activities and projects to put on activities and to feed young people over the school holidays. Parents, Carers, Guardians and Cranhill Primary and Nursery children cast their votes for the projects they wanted. These were the final results:
- 1st Place - Free lunches and flat pack meals by F.A.R.E at the Cranhill Gala Day
- 2nd Place - Cranhill Summer Programme by the Cranhill Primary Parent Council
- 3rd Place - Free Softplay and Fruit for all at the Cranhill Community Centre
- 4th Place - Summer Play Fun programme by Family Matters
- 5th Place - A one week drama programme proposed by the OPFS Cranhill group
- 6th Place- Fitter, Healthier and Happier families 6 week programme from Scots Sports Futures run through the Cranhill Community Centre
There was a great atmosphere on the day with local people wandering around table displays while the projects proudly described how their initiatives will support local families over the summer period. Parents and young people enjoyed a BBQ outside and got to play on a bouncy castle and have their face painted.
While at the event I was very aware of how diverse and multi-cultural Cranhill has become in the last 17 years. I met people who were originally from Poland and Sierra Leone that are now bringing up their families as the new generations of Glaswegians in the way that other nationalities came to the city and became new Glaswegians over the years.
I also thought of all these young people who moved into Cranhill over the last 17 years from other countries who are now having to cope with the persistent issue of lack of activities over the summer holidays and the youth hunger during this period when there are no longer school meals to supplement their diet - the same issues people were experiencing 17 years ago.
While it's the same issues being tackled, how the priorities have been decided has changed. Using participatory budgeting the people who live in Cranhill are making the decisions through their votes. They're having their say about what's important, adding further urgency and importance to addressing holiday hunger and a lack of activities.
Hopefully, and as PB becomes the way people will vote on larger sums of public money, this means that 17 years from now we won't be having to address these same issues once again.