November 10, 2010
How to measure the value this?
At last week’s Keep It Local conference, much of the discussion was around how to demonstrate the added value of housing associations being community led as opposed to the large scale housing bodies with their focus on the economies of scale. We all know value for money is vitally important but we also know that something very significant (and valuable) is happening when stories like this are being told
“Art work in Royston? You must be off your head! It will be wrecked within a week.”
Royston and other parts of north Glasgow have pockets of poverty and deprivation among the worst in the whole of Europe.
Creating a sense of place – somewhere that people are happy to live and proud to say they come from – is one of many things CCHAs do to tackle these issues head on.
In 2002, there was scepticism when Blochairn Housing Association decided to include Public Art in a new housing development in Royston. Eight years on, the sculpture is looking as good as ever!
• It has never been vandalised and Blochairn Housing Association has never had to remove graffiti from it
• It is a valued part of the landscape now and helps to promote a big message – people are proud of this community and this area
The secrets of success?
1. Making sure the sculpture belonged to the community
2. Working directly and continuously with young people living in the area
A committee of young residents worked with the artist, to develop ideas and to create the sculpture.
But Blochairn Housing Association has always treated working with its young residents as more than a one-off activity. Instead, it’s an integral part of how it tackles vandalism and anti-social behaviour in its area.
For example, it sends a newsletter, “The Wee Issue”, personally addressed to every 8 – 15 year old. And it has organised a host of events and competitions for this age group since 1997.
Blocharn’s approach gets brilliant results
“Young people in our area behave as they are treated, as valued members of our community.
“Blochairn has a zero tolerance to vandalism and all graffiti is removed immediately. In the past we visited young people in their home to discuss these issues. Now we rarely have to do this. Anything tends to be minor and not caused by local young people. It is cleaned by our staff.
“We are very aware of the level of public investment in our area and we firmly believe that this should be protected, including our public art.”