PAUL STAINTON: David Cameron has urged us all, I believe, to get involved in the Big Society, become part of where you live. And that’s just what one of our listeners has been trying to do. But she says she’s unable to set up a charity event in Parnwell, aimed at raising community spirit, because of the area’s bad reputation. But is it really that bad in Parnwell? Our reporter Sam Appleby has been out and about to find out. (TAPE)(VOXPOP)
PUBLIC ONE: Just a bad reputation in general. What I hear people saying about Parnwell is it’s not a very pleasant place to live, with all the drugs and alcohol abuse in the area. A very violent area is what I’ve heard. It’s had that reputation for a very long time, mainly because of the traveller site nearby.
SAM APPLEBY: Have you seen any of what you’ve just described.
PUBLIC ONE: No, I’ve never seen anything in that nature at all.
PUBLIC TWO: When I was moving to Parnwell, people always said, oh, you’re moving to Parnwell. There’s a lot of travellers around and things like that. And I never understood what they meant, because nobody bothers me. The travellers are a nice community. They don’t bother anyone. It’s really quiet. I have nice neighbours. So I don’t know what they were talking about.
PUBLIC THREE: It did used to be a little bit rough, I think, a few years back. We used to have cars broken into and everything. But I think it seems a lot better now. I haven’t heard anything round here for a long time.
PUBLIC FOUR: No, I can’t fault it at all. I can’t. I live in a little cul-de-sac, and it’s very quiet.
PUBLIC THREE: I have been living here for the last seven years, and I really enjoy it. I wouldn’t change it for any other place.
PUBLIC FIVE: It’s not that bad a place to live really. You’ve got to live here to know what it’s like. I’ve lived here for pretty much fifteen years, so I know what it’s like living down here.It’s just a quiet area. No trouble really goes on. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Jenny Mogford is the lady who runs peterborough.net, and who’s tried to start this charity event and social night. Morning Jenny.
JENNY MOGFORD: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: Most people we talk to in Parnwell seem pretty up about the place.
JENNY MOGFORD: Well it’s not surprising really. It’s quiet. It’s clean. It’s tidy. You can wander around, walk around the streets. I’m a runner as well, and I frequently run along the footpaths and cycle paths in Parnwell. People are friendly. They say hello. They’re walking the dogs. It certainly doesn’t live up to the reputation it had a few years ago. Unfortunately, that reputation’s stuck. And anybody that lives outside of the area seems to view it the same way it was a number of years ago, when we did have some problems.
PAUL STAINTON: Because people are a bit sniffy about Parnwell, aren’t they? They say, of yes, Parnwell. Ooh. Is that a reputation that’s outdated?
JENNY MOGFORD: Yes, completely.
PAUL STAINTON: What’s changed?
JENNY MOGFORD: We did have some problems. There was an area in Heron Park that at one time had some horrendous problems. But due to a very well-known lady in the area, Pamela Chelmiah, who started a Neighbourhood Watch, and worked with the local police, that was sorted out a very long time ago. And she’s actually the lady who runs the club locally where I was trying to organise this event.
PAUL STAINTON: Why is the reputation stopping the event though? Because surely, if people in Parnwell are there, they’ll come together, won’t they?
JENNY MOGFORD: Well the event was partly for local people, but at the same time it was open to people outside of the area, and it was a charity swishing event, which meant it was ladies coming along. And I think the feedback that I got from a few ladies coming out by themselves, or with friends, they didn’t feel particularly comfortable about coming into Parnwell for something like that on their own.
PAUL STAINTON: So the reputation persists in other parts of Peterborough that Parnwell is a dangerous place for women?
JENNY MOGFORD: I think so. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. What do you love about the place? Go on. Sell it to us. Do a little advert. Go on.
JENNY MOGFORD: On thw whole it is very clean, quiet. If you wander around in Parnwell Centre you’ll see a few people going backwards and forwards to the local store, or the Chinese takeaway in the evenings. The kids are out playing in the play areas. What more could you want from a residential area?
PAUL STAINTON: Come on people of Peterborough. Come on! Come to Parnwell.
JENNY MOGFORD: Yes. (LAUGHS)
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Does it need anything else? Is it in need of anything?
JENNY MOGFORD: I think it’s actually had quite a lot of support over the years. Positively Parnwell have tapped in, we’ve had some Fair Shares Lottery funding spent in the area, the play area being one of those. It does quite well. It gets a lot of support. We’ve got an active residents’ association. Positively Parnwell have got other things going on where they’ve actually been talking to residents about what they want and need. And that’s actually being addressed. I think we don’t need a lot more, other than a better reputation.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you think people in Parnwell do buy into the Big Society? Do they come together? Do they do things together in Parnwell?
JENNY MOGFORD: Well they do. Yes. We’ve got a Fun Day organised, not this weekend, the following weekend, with car boot sales, people coming along, family disco, that kind of thing. Yes they do.
PAUL STAINTON: Good stuff. Well listen, Jenny, thank you for that. Jenny Mogford runs peterborough.net. She says there’s nothing wrong with Parnwell. Don’t be afraid of its historic reputation. It’s the place to be. In the next hour of the show we’ll speak to June Campbell, the Positively Parnwell Development Co-ordinator, and find out what they’re up to, how they’re going to change that outdated perception of Parnwell.
PAUL STAINTON: Our reporter Sam Appleby has been to the Positively Parnwell Community House, which aims to draw residents together. (TAPE)
SAM APPLEBY: I’m just pulling up now outside the Community House. And the only thing that distinguishes this house from the others on this very normal residential road is the noticeboard outside, the small sign on the door, and the words Positively Parnwell in the window.
JUNE CAMPBELL: I’m just putting the kettle on. Do you want to come in? Had it been Monday, it would have been full of young children.
SAM APPLEBY: We’re in the kitchen now of what looks like a very very normal house.
JUNE CAMPBELL: It is exactly that thing. Shall we go through to the other rooms, and I’ll show you. So, most of the activities take place in the lounge area , and the conservatory, and the garden. So as you can see, it’s an open space, lovely big space in here where we can have play groups, and the mums in here. That’s it exactly. It’s a normal community house. And it’s really weird, because my office is one of the bedrooms, and you can imagine, new people come in and .. would you like to come upstairs to my office? And it’s .. welll that’s a bit weird. That’s the best offer I’ve had today. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: (LAUGHS) Sam Appleby being shown around the Positively Parnwell Community House by Development Coordinator June Campbell, who’s with me in the studio. Morning.
JUNE CAMPBELL: Morning.
PAUL STAINTON: Interesting. Do you want to come up to my bedroom. (THEY LAUGH) How much funding have you managed to secure so far for what you’re doing in Parnwell?
JUNE CAMPBELL: Well Fair Shares funded the project in Parnwell, Positively Parnwell, because the Big Lottery felt that there hadn’t been enough money. And there was £880.000, over a 10 year period, which end in 2013.
PAUL STAINTON: Right. OK. And what have you spent it on?
JUNE CAMPBELL: Well there’s lots of things that have happened. The main things, improvements in bus shelters, loads of new play equipment, parks that have been improved, and the main thing, resident involvement. There’s quite a lot of different groups that are running, funded by Positively Parnwell, the Big Lottery, such as a skills exchange, an environmental project, community reporters, and my role working with residents. So there’s lots going on.
PAUL STAINTON: Why did you feel you need to start it though? There were problems there, in the first place.
JUNE CAMPBELL: Historically there were problems. But things have changed. There’s a lot more going than you think. And the image that they’re talking about is outdated, definitely.
PAUL STAINTON: Why are people still not coming though? Is it just that image that you’ve got to change?
JUNE CAMPBELL: I’m completely convinced it’s just an image that needs changing. Why not come along to the Fun Day that Jenny was mentioning? I think it’s 2nd July, in Parnwell, in the centre. There’s loads going on. Come along and see it. It’s different.
PAUL STAINTON: For people with intransigent opinions, listening to this this morning, thinking, oh no, no, it’s not for me. I’m not going. No. What would you say ? How would you sell Parnwell to them?
JUNE CAMPBELL: Well it’s a positive community, Positively Parnwell, like I said. There’s lots of things going on, lots of community activities, and it’s a quiet environment, paople are happy, the neighbours talk to each other. Just come along and see.
PAUL STAINTON: Well hopefully we’ve done our bit to change people’s perceptions this morning.
JUNE CAMPBELL: And they need to come along to our website, positivelyparnwell.org.uk. Find out lots of exciting things going on, particularly job opportunities, so that’s where you need to look.
PAUL STAINTON: See what’s happening. See the truth about what’s going on in Parnwell.
JUNE CAMPBELL: Absolutely.
PAUL STAINTON: June, thank you for coming in this morning. Appreciate that. And hopefully we’ve done our bit to improve the image of Parnwell this morning.