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You are in: Birmingham > People > Your Community > My Life in Aston

Voice of Aston

Voice of Aston

My Life in Aston

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.

Voice of 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

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

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.”

Vox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

www.voiceofaston.org.uk

last updated: 23/03/2009 at 17:55
created: 11/04/2006

Have Your Say

What are your views on the area of Aston? Do you think the media influences the way people see the area?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

SAMINA24
I LIVE IN ASTON ALL I SEE IS YOUNG MEN DRIVING EXPENSIVE CARS AND WANT TO BE DRUG DEALERS AND JUST SHOW OFF. THEIR SHOUID BE MORE COPS ON THE ROADS WHAT ARE THEY DOING ...PAPERWORK...WHAT PAPERWORK THEY KNOW WHO THE CRIMINALS ARE.

ANEESA
I FINK ASTON IS VERY PEACEFULL OKAY SO PEOPLE SHOULD CALM DOWN LOL

monty
im sorry i love aston

gud geeza
i liked this site very much it was nice to see alll the cumunitiy work together to make it a better place

dhanyal khan
I LOVE JAMILA ABND RAILA

Monty
Bunch of wanna b gangsters and corrupt community leaders that’s all u get in Aston and the surrounding areas. Wake up every morning to the same all crap. Drug dealers blatantly selling on peoples doorsteps (don’t take a genius to work out who they are, 80 something quid from the job centre, no job and driving around in cars worth over few bob, wake up coppers or do we need to bring in Colombo). Shooting, stabbing, robbery etc every other day, no parking, rubbish all over the roads, so called gangsters hanging around street corners waiting to mug, abuse, harass residents and school girls etc. Millions have been spent and thousands more will be funded to improve the area that’s what I’ve been told. A few CCTV cameras on street corners, youth clubs, free dustbin bags and the odd skip now and then for all to use is that where all the moneys gone? Killings, shootings, muggings, robberies, gta, vandalisms, dumping of rubbish etc its all still going on. Improvements what improvements I aint seen no changes have you?

BILLA OV ASTON
LISTEN YEH B6 IS THE BEST NO ONE CAN TEST BRAPPP B6 4 LIFE

LIL BILL
LISTEN YEH B6 ASTON IS THE BEST IS THE BEST AROUND HERE I DONT CARE WHAT U PEEPEZ THINK B6 4 LIFE

AKA SOLJA OV ASTON
ASTON IZ A BAD PLACE NO 1 CAN TEST THE BEST BIG UP ALL THE ASTON SOLJAS

LAL
I THINK ASTON IS GOOD

d
big up lozells

CUZI SHOP ON JARDINE ROAD
ASTON IS A GD AREA BUT I THINK SMALL HEATH IS BETTER TANK U BYE BYE

Shaz
I think aston is agood place to live in comperd to loz

Nazmul
i think aston and i like it and it is a heavy place and i hate the people who take drugs and drink. some times it fells like a bad place.

aston gyalz
yeh aston iz ruff place especially wen derz dat aston pride fair in aston park evry august. i think its gud 2 hav these thingz in the community. there shud be more swings 2 ride on in aston park.

Revd David Randolph-Horn
It was good to see this. I was Vicar of St James Aston for 10 years fron 84-94 living in Albert Road. I learned a graet deal while there and found many people with much to teach me about a lived faith. Govt often failed to work with local people addressing local difficulties and to appreciate their survival skills and their hope. I have many memeories of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, christians and people of good will working together throught he Advice centre, Play group and Church working for the good of all. I have often wondered why the Authorities did not develope the work of the Community Support and Advice centre using its diverse contacts to form frame and implement change. I know nowhere else where the Churches, mosques and residents Association have such a strong record of working together. There is social and faith capital here needing respect endorsement and ]artnership

hassan
aston da best in east and west i am reppin aston 4 lyf

Afia
i think aston is not a place to go to because of the shooting at the stabbings, all the violence and conflict starts in aston.

ibrar qayyum
whats up aston cru big up everyone who lives in aston PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aston gal
aston is a cool place so dont diss it man bigg up everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

hasrat
aston is good

DJ
ASTON IS GOOD

naeema akhtar
i think aston is wicked and we are proud where we live.peace

Shabz
I have lived in b'ham b21 for long time then i moved. How can you say aston is good place to live i seen the most nasty sites in aston would never recommend anyone to go live in aston or near. I think all you lot on here should take a good look and aston then put a comment. Aston is getting help to improve but yet is is far from it

ANISA
JUST GET A LIFE U PEEPS THANK ALLAH DAT U HAV A PLACE TO LIVE AN HAV 2 SAY ASTON IS A REALY NICE PLACE I LIKE IT SO I DONT CARE WOT SUM1 ALSE SAYS ABOUT IT.

maria
well i used to live in bham in da area calld aston well i ve seen different views to aston n now im in london. well i think ppl hu wanna live in aston r happy to do so because i have found london is a wikd place to be at, well my hometown aston is like very dry place n comparing the both places i would choose eitha both

CHICO
WHAT I THINK OF ASTON IT IS A BAD PLACE TO STAY BECAUSE OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO SUCH AS LEGEEL DRUGS. BUT MANY CHLDREN IN ASTON GROW UP AS DRUGIES. SO LITTLE ONES SHOULD STAY IN OF THE BAD INFULANCE GOING ON AROUND ASTON. MANY RDS DO DRUGS SUCH AS OR DAVEY RDS OR JARDINE RDS AT THE FAR TOP OF THE RDS. SO PLEASE KEEP A LOOK OUT ON THEM RDS THANK,S

LIL BILL
MY COMMENT OF ASTON IS IT IS GOOD BECAUSE THEM PEAPEZ UP THERE KNOW ME AND I AM A DON. PEACE

J
I agree that Aston is probably not as bad as the media portray. My parents live on the outskirts of aston and i personally cannot stand the place. To be fair i now live in one of the most affluent places in the country so it is a very different way of life. I do like birmingham, but if i were to move back there i would never choose to live in aston. I'm not stuck up because i have seen both sides of life. I suppose I can thank aston for making me as motivated as I am (to want to get more out of life). The media doesn't portray this but I just find the gangs of 'typical lads' really frustrating and that is probably the main reason that i dislike aston so much. Bringing kids up there is not even something i can bring myself to imagine. I do respect the amount of support that these areas get because they definitely need it. As nice as brummies are, it is the people that make a place what it is. But that's just my view!

LIL BILL
WHAT I THINK OF ASTON IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE IN WRITE NOW B6 FOR LIFE BRAAAPPPPP

ROZE
aston is the best so dont mess

sohail
voice of aston is good i think aston is a good area

tee=mustansir
voice of aston is the best

polo
aston is alrigt place but there are more thugs in L.O.Z.so big up up l.o.z.

BILLY TAS
WATS UP B6, HEY YOU ALL THIS ONE SHOUT OUT TO ALL YOU G,S I U KNOW ASTON IS THE PLACE TO BE MND YOU I AM LIVEING IN THE HEAVIST CRIB AROUND YOU KNOW WHERE ITS HAPPENING CORNER TUDOR ON BAYSWATER RD

khan
Aston al d way!!! Braap Braap

ILYAS
YOU COUNT MESS WITH B6 ASTON

naeema
i have been living in aston for such a long time so i dont no why other people dont like it.me and my no that we are safe here

jazmin
I think aston is a very nice place. well am from london but i always go to b-ham on the holidays but i wouid like to live the one day.

sparky
Aston is the endz to be in...everyone dont know what they chatting about. This is the only area I feel safe in because I know I got my back covered whenever and wherever. Respect to all the people

queen of aston
aston is not a bad place i have been living there for many years so dont diss our place (yew tree)

gizmo of aston
yes bash b6, aston is the best area around dont mess b6 braaappppp

princess of aston
aston is a awesome place to live in with many good people in it. The media has branded aston as a bad plce to live in but there wrong cuz aston is wickd, and i love it to bitz. big up to evry1 from asto.peace

princess
i think aston is a very lively place with alot of very good people. it has a very good atmosphere theres always somethink going on. Many people brand aston as a rubbish place to live in. But i think they are wrong, they may be some bad things and people around but their are many nice good people around aswel.

Steve Southwick
I was bought up in Aston (Birchfield Road) during the 1950's. My dad had a pram and nursery shop there, it was always a tough area in many ways a lot tougher then than now. Full employment with real jobs kept the worst excesses at bay then and people would always help you out if you were in trouble. I expect its the same now; I am proud to say I came from Aston I never forget the people and their warm hearts.

Former Resident of Aston: Abu
I understand and believe in freedom of speech however it should be taken into consideration that not all people from Aston are commom trash as one person who soo eloquently put it!!! Iv lived in Aston for over 15 years! i grow up in the gang culture predominantly made up of young people from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani community. Alot had changed since then. People who move into Aston now will be intimidated at first due to the sheer number of people living in Aston and its ethnic mix of people from south Asian and Afro Carribean backgrounds. Growing op in Aston has made me street wise and has helped me develop into the person that i am today, alot of credit should go to the youth workers in Aston and some local business men who made the time and effort in trying to secure the future of Aston by empowering the younger generation who in tern will one day be the senior members of the community. Deprivation does exist in Aston but regardless of that people are still striving and making an effort to make a brighter future for ourselves and OUR commmunity. One final thought please dont judge something untill you FULLY understand the situation and the variable factors involved in "growing up in Aston". "WHAT YOU SEE ISNT ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET". Peace

Louise
I am currently working in Aston and would like to promote Aston Pride which is doing a lot for the local community. If you love or hate Aston, come along to the Aston Pride Festival taking place on 06.08.06 at Aston Park between 12 and 7pm and come and see what's happening in the area, and maybe your views will change?

billa ov aston
listen yeh b6 aston is the best around i dont care wot all u peeps say but aston is da best n u cant test brapp b6 4 life !!!

Fatema begum
Astonz a wicked place,evn though there'z bin shooting,stabbin,etc at the end of da day its a nice multicultural place 2 live in.im only 16 and ive learnt bair from Being brought up here but when im older and married and have kids iwould want to move out and show my kidz other area'z! Wen im and meet new people and wen they ask me ''so wer bouts r u from?'' i b staight up and tell em ''yeh im from aston!'' they dö get abit ov a shock bt oh wel datz life and im proud 2liv in aston n 2b a b6!

hassan
aston is a heavy place to live now one can test aston caz aston has a lot of places like shopping centre,play centre and aston park

sophie khan
i think that aton is a lovely place even though i dont live there.big up the b6 and ma man frm da b6.love ya all peepz.peace.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anon
Get real aston is not a nice place to live, it has gangs that run the place and is very threatening place to be if you are a young women out at night-i know i lived there for over a year

mohammed
peace: love all and hate none!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

local resident
I've lived in Aston all my life and i know the problem to be drugs, kids have no positive role models to look upto and also to many so called "Youth Groups" don't have a clue about the area and its needs, their there to line their pockets with the money coming in, Aston itself is'nt bad, just some of the locals(drug dealers). They should be named and shamed, unfortunetly the police already know them, so nothing ever happens unless the media get involved.

maria from south houston,texas
seems like we parallel our lives w/yours here in america*****

A KHAN
i have just moved to aston. unfortunately it was the only place i could get a home from the council. and i cant wait to move out. why anybody would want to bring children up here is beyond me. what i cant stand is the fact its so filthy. people just dont take pride in the area. they accept it as a nasty place to live and arent prepared to make it any better. and the tower block near my house gets raided every other day by armed officers. its full of common trash and i want to leave asap as i dont want to be common trash.

SPIDER FRM ROCK
CHILL ALL U NEED IS LOVE N PEACE WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Groundwork youth team
Exellent video presentation on Aston. It shows the sheer diversity of the area and its social and economical strides made by the people as well as the deprivation. Highly thought provoking and methodical video. Well done.

A resient of aston!!!!!!!
i think this webpage is really good and it is a lesson to those boys who think they r gangsters well i reaoly like this webpage and i have told all my freinds about it. i wouuld 4eall appericiate it if u would print this out underneath with all the other comments. thankzs!!!!!!!!!

P1
Aston is a decent place. Like everywhere there are gangs. every area has a gang its not just aston.

Bob Latham
I was born bred and schooled in aston, suppoted the team this was in the mid 50s early 60s. There allways seed to be a stigma about aston, when asked were do you live. oh! thats a rough area, well yes it was, but what a wonderfull community aston was and i am sure still has.I left aston in the late 60s marriage and work took me to cornwall my familly still lived in aston till the mid 90s so i am aware of the changes that of occured the good the bad and the ugly,but allways it has a community of people that focus on the positve an area offers. Ok i live in cornwall sounds idealic,we have drug,drink anti social behaviour, if aston has got it so has cornwall.when asked where to you come from my answer is aston, i still come home to watch the team. SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY ASTON.

stuart
aston is run down but not as bad as the press make out! but there is a gangland culture there! anyone who has lived in b'ham all there lives will tell you that!

Aisha Dean
Aston is not better then Smallheath

Richard
I grew up on aston lane witton,aston,and it was one of the best places to grow up,giving me a strong foundation for existence in REAL life,i now live out of the area but my family still live in the same house i grew up in,i would not change my childhood in aston even if i could.The area has suffered in recent years by drugs and guns,but the police and community workers have done a lot of work to clean the area up,and lets not forget its also up to the residents to actively participate in combatting the so called "drugs and guns" culture in order to re-establish itself as a good area within the media forum,thanks.

shida pistol
loved the site, big credit to the voice of aston for doing this docummentary, credit also to the bbc for having it on their site,lived in aston for over 30 years and i love it and would not live anywhere else, it is an area like no other. respect and love to all

Tom Belte
Full respect to the people of Aston, to put you all in one box is the most stupid thing to do when it comes to Birmingham. From the reports and being a citizen its obvious how precious our cultures are to us all, and how important Aston is to the area just as much as any other suburb is. Good on the BBC for doing this and a very well done to the people involved. Peace.

Marlon from Aston
Yes there are problems in the area but no one ever promotes the positive things happening in Aston, no one gives us pride, everyone wants to only show the bad and negative of Aston.

An Aston resident
Everyone outside of Aston thinks we are poor, rough trouble makers and gangsters. That’s jeopardising our chances of jobs. Education or anything else.

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