I must confess that it was refreshing to meet people who care about their community in a part of Birmingham which has really been forgotten about, politically, economically and socially by the rest of society as it a developed into an island to itself to say the least.
The point we must remember that society is made up of every type of people and who are we to sit in judgement upon others.
I saw a street a various nationalities and ages from various walks of life living as one community. Do they have problems? Off course they do just like anyone else.
Then ask yourself why so much hate is being shown towards these people, that allowed a filmmaker to comes into the privacy of their homes to make a programme about Community Spirit, which later ended up as a programme depicting James Turner Street, as a road full of scrounger’s, drunks, drug abusers and criminals, which is not the case. Unfortunately all of the residents have been tarred with the same stereotypical brush.
There are several working families, and there is a complete mixture of tenure including owner occupiers.
I believe the filmmakers do have a lot of questions to answer including filming an individual breaking an order not to go to Birmingham City Centre unless they have an appointment or attending court and the other portraying himself as a Big Issue seller.
Obviously being the first episode it has to carry some punch, but, at whose expense. These people have been targeted and indeed have suffered death threats from people that say that they are better than them, but are they. All it demonstrated to me was that we are becoming a society of haters that meander to the current economic policies of oppressing the less fortunate and labelling people on benefits.
However, the most unforgivable issue for me is that Children are being bullied at School as a result of the programme, which is totally disgraceful.
To the viewer that doesn’t know the area; they can only draw misconceptions in my view. What I saw was a neglected Community which needed help to move forward, which is the case for various areas in many Cities’ across the country.
As for the 50p Man Smoggy, I known Steve for some time now and we have morally and spiritually been supporting him and he wanted to turn his life around and I am pleased that he is getting there.
The key message that I wish to send out, we all must examine ourselves and shame of those that have sent messages of hate and death threats to these human beings, just like the rest of us.
The stigmatisation of children, which have led to the Children being bullied, is totally unacceptable also.
The key thing that exists in James Turner Street is the spirit of ‘One Community’ and we should never seek to condemn people, those who are strong are there to help those who are weak.
We should be seeking to help this Community and not condemning them, I am certain that with the right help James Turner Street could successfully regenerated.
I believe Channel Four should contribute to a fund for the residents if the street by way of reparation and the City Council should urgently seek to place resources into this area in order to support the residents.