‘The Brexit effect was huge’: South Street Kids Radio inspires children from Norwich Road area of Ipswich
You have a stake in this community and you deserve to be heard. That is the lesson being taught to children from one of the most diverse and deprived areas of Ipswich thanks to an inspiring project.
South Street Kids Radio (SSKR), run by Ipswich Community Media, is celebrating its first birthday and in the past year has worked with more than 60 youngsters who live in and around Norwich Road.
The group meets every Saturday at South Street Studios, and the sessions include trips to shows, museums and galleries, training in music, film and radio, workshops and dance classes.
The children have also learnt how to conduct interviews and they even worked with an artist to design a sculpture for last year’s Pigs Gone Wild.
Cad Taylor, who leads the project with Angelle Joseph and Ian Parson, said: “We feel passionate about giving them experiences they wouldn’t normally have and normalising going to the theatre or going to a museum.
“Some of them live in tiny houses with multiple people so if anything it’s an opportunity for them to have their own space on a Saturday.”
Shub Singh, police community support officer (PCSO) for the area, has supported some of the sessions.
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“This was hugely positive, as the kids got to know him and it really served to break the barriers down with youth and police,” Cad said.
The children hail from all over the world, including Romania, Lithuania, Russia, Portugal, United Kingdom, The Caribbean and India.
Cad said the aim of SSKR was to make these young people feel like a vital and welcome part of their community, and to raise their aspirations for the future.
“The Brexit effect was huge,” she said. “Kids were saying ‘do we have to go home now?’
“That was real, a lot had no idea.
“This transcends that, and it’s saying: you are so part of this community.
“Our big hope is that they become political, they care and they feel like someone listens.”
Since its launch last January, SSKR has also developed a Tuesday group for older children.
Mel Holmes said her 11-year-old daughter, Isis, had become more confident since attending the meetings.
“It’s a really good opportunity for young people to come together and get out into the community and see how things work,” she said.
“I have seen their confidence grow and they are learning multiple skills.
“It’s a really amazing project.”
When asked to describe SSKR, Angelle said: “Energy. They are so energetic, dynamic and just crazy fun.
“We just look like an amazing bunch together because everyone looks so different and speaks different languages.”
Angelle is a teaching assistant at Handford Hall Primary School, where most of the SSKR members attend.
Since the project began, Angelle said she had seen the children come out of their shells, and many of them were now taking part in more sports and extra curricula activities at school.
SSKR ran a media stall during a ‘day of action’ at Jubliee Park, near Sirdar Road and Surrey Road, a notoriously troubled area which sees a high level of drug-related and violent crime. It is also where many of the children live, with Handford Hall located nearby.
The group played music and engaged with around 100 families throughout the day to find out what they feel are the issues in the area and how they can be improved, but also encouraging them to think more positively about their community.
SSKR’s current grant from Children in Need will end in March, and organisers are actively looking for new funding options to keep it running. They also hope to buy a mobile radio truck to reach out to more people in the community.
If anyone can help SSKR with funding or the purchase of a radio truck, or to volunteer to host a workshop, contact Cad by emailing email@example.com, or calling 07814 235111.