Voice of Aston
My Life in Aston
By Patricia Hoskins
Residents in Aston are proud of their vibrant multi-cultural, multi-faith community. However the media portrays the area as a gangland of drugs and gun crime. Watch people talk about what life is really like living in Aston.
Witton Road, Aston
Aston has been reported to be one of the most deprived areas, not only in Birmingham but in the whole of England. The media portrays the area as a violent gangland, with a high level of drugs and gun crime.
There is a strong feeling throughout the community that the media is to blame for the negative way Aston is viewed by the general public and the residents feel the area’s positive side has never been highlighted. The residents say this is having a detrimental effect on its communities.
Most people who have grown up and live there say: “Aston is a really nice place to live.”
Voice of Aston
About the film ‘My Life in Aston’
Residents of Aston have voiced their opinions and thoughts in a film called 'My Life in Aston'. The inspiration and making of the film came from a community group called Voice of Aston.
The film documents people’s lives, experiences and views about living in Aston.
Basharat Najib, project co-ordinator for Voice of Aston explains the inspiration behind the film:
“'My Life in Aston' is about the people in Aston, their thoughts aspirations and personal statements about living and working within Aston.
Basharat Najib - Voice of Aston
“We made the film because we felt there was a lot of negative vibes from the media and people outside of Aston. This is influencing the way Aston is seen by the general public.
“The area is seen as a place for gang culture, crime, drugs and antisocial behaviour. Everything negative has been tied into Aston.
“Yes there has been a couple of high profile incidents associated with Aston which has put the area on the map, it’s just unfortunate that these incidents have happened here.
"Aston is no different to anywhere else.”
What I think of Aston...
What we think of Aston…
Shoppers and passers by in Birmingham’s City Centre were asked to say the first thing that came to their mind when they heard the word Aston. Comments included;
“It’s rundown, there’s nasty people and drugs addicts around. I would never live there...”
“I think the media portray Aston as a pretty bad place…”
“I grew up and went to school there a long time ago, I wouldn’t live there now…”
Voice of Aston
Community work in Aston
Many people in Aston are striving to help portray the area in a more positive light.
Community workers see their job roles as an opportunity to put something back into Aston. They’re working hard to make a better future for the up and coming generation.
Youth worker Phil Hamilton grew up in Aston and has worked in the area for 25 years, he says: “I owe a lot to Aston, I love the place. I love the close knit communities.
Jenny Clark - community project worker
“The only reason people are frightened to walk in Aston is because the media has hyped the area to be some kind of ghetto gangland or wild, wild west movie. Aston is a million miles away from that.”
Jenny Clark, a community development worker for Aston Christian Centre says: "The problems in Aston and Handsworth are always highlighted, but the same things happen in other areas. The majority of people that live in Aston are law abiding citizens."
Habib, Jenny Clark and Phil Hamilton, work for various community projects throughout Aston. They expressed their views about Aston’s communities in 'My Life in Aston'.
Youth in Aston
Habib is a former youth worker at the Aston detached youth project in Aston park. He explains that the young people in Aston are no different to any other young people in other areas of Birmingham, there is a lack of things to do, jobs and education opportunities in the area.
Habib - Youth worker
“Young people in Aston are lively and they’ve got their issues, but they also want to get on with their lives and achieve things just like any other young people. You have good and bad in any area.
“There’s a lot of negative things been said and highlighted about Aston through the media because of incidents that have happened, but the majority of people in Aston are good people."
Business in Aston
Many of the local shops and businesses in the Aston area are situated on Witton and Birchfield Road. Business owners say that life is tough for them in Aston, they can just about make a living.
Businessman in Aston
Abdul, a mobile shop owner explains: "There’s not many people on the roads compared to other areas just outside of Aston such as Alum Rock, Soho Road, and Lozells Road.
Another retailer talks about the affect the new year shootings in 2003 has had on his business on Birchfield Road, he says: “Aston isn't a bad area it's a lovable and peaceful area, the biggest problem we have is unemployment, there's a lot of young people out of work.”
Watch business owners talk about their life in Aston using the video links on the right >>>
Father Peter Jones
Faith in Aston
In Aston there are several churches, mosques and temples, people of all faiths live together in harmony.
Father Peter Jones, a Parish Priest at the Catholic Church of the Sacred heart in Witton, has only been in the area a few months.
Before moving to Aston, like many others, he had heard and seen in the media the reports about the area, but found life very different when he actually moved there.
Father Peter Jones explains: “I didn’t know what to expect before coming to the area, but I’m so glad I moved here. The people who form my congregation are great.
Battah in Aston
"Whatever faiths or backgrounds we all come from within Aston, may we all be at peace with one another.”
Watch representatives talk about the multi faith community in Aston using the video links on the right>>>
Sports in Aston
Aston is most famous for it’s Aston Villa football ground, however the area also boasts a wide range of sports that people of all ages across the communities take part in.
Sports include, cricket and football and the more traditional Asian sports called Kabbadi and Battah.
Watch highlights of the sports in Aston using the video links on the right >>>>
More about Voice of Aston
For more information about My Life in Aston and the Voice of Aston community project visit the website.
last updated: 23/03/2009 at 17:55
Have Your Say
What are your views on the area of Aston? Do you think the media influences the way people see the area?
BILLA OV ASTON
AKA SOLJA OV ASTON
CUZI SHOP ON JARDINE ROAD
Revd David Randolph-Horn
queen of aston
gizmo of aston
princess of aston
Former Resident of Aston: Abu
billa ov aston
maria from south houston,texas
SPIDER FRM ROCK
Groundwork youth team
A resient of aston!!!!!!!
Marlon from Aston
An Aston resident