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Claire, Shane and Paddy in Chapeltown
Claire, Shane and Paddy in Chapeltown

Round my way

What's it like living in a so-called rough neighbourhood? BBC 1Xtra's Jenna G came to the streets of Harehills and Chapeltown in Leeds to find out.


These areas may be known for riots, hard drugs and street crime but there's more to it than that.

Whilst the government tries to control crime with ASBOs on young offenders, the community is fighting back with positive projects to inspire youth away from crime.

Paddy, Claire and Shane are all 15 years old and all live in or near Chapeltown. They act as Jenna's guides to show her how community groups run activities as diverse as slam poetry events, radio stations and rally driving scholarships.

You can listen to the documentary Round My Way on BBC 1Xtra on digital radio at 5.30pm, Wednesday 20 April 2005. Or listen online via the 1Xtra website, follow the links at the top right of this page.

last updated: 26/05/06
Have Your Say
Do you live in Chapeltown or Harehills? What do you think of the place? Are youth projects helping to improve the area?
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The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

jessy lou
hi, just about to put a deposit down on a flat in Chapeltown and am starting to feel rather worried! i must say, my first impressions were good, the area looked "leafy" and the main streets looked nice, so alls good, but as soon as i mentioned it to anyone, it got bad mouthed straight away.i think its unfair, and im just hoping my good view will stay with me when i move there.anyone got any advice??

Sherlock of LS12
Everyone is sayin' Chapeltown 'n' Harehills are rough. I don't live there but I walk through there at different times night 'n' day over the past 4 years [as i have friends who live in this area] & I've never had any problems, Seacroft on da other hand - well let's just say i've been stabbed twice on 2 separate occasions, both times in Seacroft - POINT MADE

rachel houghton
Yyou can't take the p*ss out of gipton - I've lived here all my life and its not sh*t

Laura
in leeds there are much worser areas than chapeltown and harehills!! jus luk at seacroft or beeston dem areas are much worse!! everyone says you will get shot in chapeltown!! dat is da biggest piece of bull iv eva heard!!!

Mohamme d Usif
I think Chapeltown and Harehills is great, plenty of different people from diferent backgrounds getting on with there day to day business.On Roundhay Road shopping parade has improved over the years and is much more improved with many more shops and activities for all.

thair
i live in chapeltown and what i think of it, it is a mess no asbos are gonna stop anyone from doing what they like but encourage them to do more crime. the harder they try the better but the government isnt putting much effort into it because you still see gang violence you still see vandalism. why isnt anybody putting a stop to this. genna you went to the quite side of chapeltown you havnt seen the the real chapeltown!! and as far as community groups they isnt much for all ethnic minorities and there isnt one were we all can join in and have our say

keiran wood
my self i think gipton the worst area for car crime

Sparky
hi i live in an area wich has an estate near wakefield on a much smaller scale then chapeltown n i used to walk round hoping i wudnt get a beating until i was freinds wiv all the peaople there n wiv wot i seen and heard about chapeltown i deffo wud not wnt to go there

dog
cpt n harehills arent that bad there are worser places in leeds

Smiler
Ive lived and still live in the carr manors all my life and used to skate around chappy A and CPT and for a skinny white boy with long hair i seemed top get more trouble (mugging, threats, beatings) in chapel allerton than chapel town. i remember when i was about 9 or 10 walking down to CPT with a friend at about ten in the evening and getting stuck in one of the baby swings nothing happened. but if you go into chapel allerton park you may find a different storry as i used to. im not sure but when i was hanging around down there we had nothing to do but get kicked off everywhere we'd go. we had a couple of students try and set up some sort of youth club but that fell through after a month or so (i still wanna break dance damn it!!) The media will never get it right they will always put a bad name on minority communities to put fear into lets say white people and of course with the popularity of CA rising with more and more bars means more and more drunk people fighting and CA is closer to the station it must be more convenient for them. these are not the worst places to live in round here and i hope this helps someone. well thats my 2 cents im out. Sm:)er

Tom
Man need 2 stop talkin bowt CPT and harehills lyk ther the worst place places in britain. fair enuff they have bad crime but once u get 2 kno it there not even that bad i go there quit frequently and have neva bin harrased or anything.

Llwellyn
The area is not that bad, OK we have the dealers but they do it coz its easy money but the place has lots of talented youths but the government doesn't see that.

mp
ok maybe chapeltown has its bad sides well maybe a lot of them but i hope everyboby knows that aswell as crime coming out of hood theirs also possitive sides like school of dance leeds young outhers and projects like rjc dance and getaway girls. dont judge a book by its cover because if you take a look inside you begin to see differently...

bliss
my nan lives in chapeltown and there IS alot of crime where she lives i think personally its to do with young families and single parents not handling young children properly

James
I live in Chapeltown and from what I've heard in the comments on this page its all abit over the top really. People in the area feel hard done by because others are thinking the area is like something out of boyz 'n' the hood. The truth is chapeltown is a 'difficuilt' area with raids on the local establishments common practice. The main problem is that some youths in the area celebrate this fact and see it as something of boost to their social ego's and the common opinion that the police and "outsiders" are not welcome in their "yard" doesn't go anywhere towards helping create a better community. Granted a larger majority of the community are pushing for improvement but until the media change the way the area is written about (i.e.trouble area, under developed) we will not see major positive changes. The community it's self also needs to start helping themselves and not just reply on the fantastic youth projects that are been run at the Mandela Centre and HOST media centre. The events also need to lose the exclusivity tad allowing for further social intergration.

kai-omri
I have lived in chapeltown for over 10 years now, which is more than half of my life and as a 17 year old i have to say that it isn't the worst place to live. like everywhere it has its ups and it has its down. Yes there's a fair amoutn of crime, but not as much as the media makes out. they make it seem as though you cannot walk down the street without being shot at; this belief is simply the result of 'hype'. i love living there and i wouldn't want to live anywhere else, because funnily enough, it's somewhere i feel safe. i feel like i am around my 'own people' away from racism and abuse i may be subjected to in other areas such as halton moor and gipton. i also love the multi-cultural element of chapeltown and harehills that is difficult to find in other areas of leeds, such as beeston. there are blacks, whites and asians who live there together as a community, i am not trying to create a falsehood saying that we all live in harmony because its not perfect. But generally, everyone is able to live alongside each other. i can understand why some people may be threatened by young black boys wjo hang around on street corneers, i know we'd all like to think they are getting up to no good and dealing drugs, but for a lot of them that is not the case, they may simply just be chillin. there are however, i do not feel, enough activities for youths and any yputh projects that there are, i do not think are made public enough. the bottom line is, that the media is detrimental to chapeltown's reputation and i am growing tired of having to put ignorant people straight about things they don't know about.

george hudson
gipton seems to be the worst area. i live in the middle and from around 10,pm to about 5,am all you see is about 40 to 50 youths standing on the street corner. and maybe 4 or 5 stolen cars screeching around. i think the police should do something about it.

natalie
I don't live in chapletown any more but i still spend most of my time there. People talk about it like you see people with shot guns running around the steets and it not like that at all. On the suface it just like anywhere else man chillin on street corners messing about but that happenes anywhere an most man are not even selling drugs alot of them are just chillin. I also think that alot of the riots are created by the police, i have witnessed many time where the police have been rude, out of order and hit inercent by standers for no reason. Alot of the youth only chill on street corner cause they have nothing better to do, but now there is a new project in chaple town called project 7. This project offers things to do for us and take the youth off the street on a friday night. But i dont think it is enough we need more project like this.

George Ragan
Last June I returned to Leeds, for the first time in 23 years. I walked down Rookwood Terrace and saw the house where I was born - I had tears in my eyes. I went to my old school, felt so proud to be back - some of the best times in my life I spent there. I asked the teacher if I could walk round the schoolyard as the memories were flooding back, the teacher said for security reasons I cant let you - that was sad. I also went to Harehills Lane, my second home no. 557, who lives there now?? I had some good times in Leeds ,it was great to come home. My Australian wife loved it, I went to the soccer ground at the Shaftesbury where I had scored so many great goals. I love Leeds. George Ragan, Hobart, Tasmania

easy dave
I live in Chapeltown i got to say it aint perfect but if u knew us you wouldn't think it was all that bad!!! big it up Chapeltown!!

Andy
I suppose it depends on what you define as a 'bad area'. I was born on Halton Moor and brought up in Gipton/Osmondthorpe. There's plenty of bad areas, and I class Chapeltown as one of them. Let's put it this way - if I was married, I wouldn't let my wife walk through Chapeltown (or any of the other areas I've mentioned).

danny
As a 16 year old from Leeds i have 2 say dat Chapeltown isn't as bad as everyone seems to think. I'd heard stories but being from burley (which i believe is a worse area in different ways) had never really bin there wiv out my parents until my mate got remanded in armley 4 two weeks den got put in housing there. we went 2 his house well after 1 o'clock at nite many times and only got hassled once even though we saw lots of people our age, not such a bad place leave em alone espescially wiv hyde park, little london and richmond hill so close

anthony
chapletown is a good area it is known to be bad but really it is so bad and yes youth projects are helping it

Claire of Leeds Young Authors
Nice documentary and good pics of the areas. places like CPT and Harehills are really not as bad as people make them out to be. yeah the crime rate is pretty bad but name one place in the UK that doesn't have a harsh amount of crime. Crime is a part of the UK, deal with it!! why just single out places in Leeds like Chapeltown, Harehills, Meanwood and Woodhouse?!?!?!we ain't all bad you know. yet when we do try to improve there is always some fools that try to ruin it for us and then the people,like us, that are trying to make better of ourselves get the bad rep. open your eyes to the reality of the situation- seems like the 'ghetto rep' has some people eyes glued wide shut.

Toddy
Just bought a place in Harehills. There are problems around but not in my street. I don't seem to get any aggro. as I am 6 foot with a long red beard, huge tattoos and two Dobermanns! Feel sorry for the people whom have to live here who don't look like me!

Francis Edwards
Well I checked beatcrime.info and yes Harehills and Chapeltown really do have more incidence of crime, even compared to areas like Gipton and Halton Moor. Of course this is overall figures for the area, so there must be some really, really bad streets compared to the nice ones!

Emma Simpson
I have lived in Chapeltown my whole life & am constantly having to tell ignorant idiots that it really isn't as bad as the local media have made it out to be.The area's bad reputation emerged in the 1980s after riots. These riots were reported in the local and national press as black youths against the police and as a result of this quite frankly racist reporting Chapeltown has been unfairly labelled as a place to fear. Chapeltown and Harehills are mainly black and asian areas and just happen to be the areas that are labelled as worst for crime when those of you who live in East End Park, Middleton, Seacroft, Gipton, Hunslet ect will know how bad the crime is throughout the city. The point i am trying to make is that if these so called rough areas were not home to mainly blacks and asians they would not have the reputation they are stuck with. Everyone who thinks Chapeltown is rough needs to fix up and see the bigger picture. Im not saying that those of you who diss Chapeltown are racist but you should be made aware of what the real situation is. The next time you open the Evening Post or watch Look North and see a negative story about Chapeltown remember that things are not always what they seem. Why is it the local media seem unwilling to report the endless stories of race attacks that take place in South Leeds prefering to dump all crime on Chapeltown? Unless you live in Chapeltown you will never really know what it is like having to face such unbelievable prejudice just because of where you live. At the end of the day s**t does happen in the area but the point is more of it happens everywhere else but no one ever gets to hear about it. Nowhere in Leeds is perfect!

Jonathan Marsden
All cities, towns and suburbs have good and bad areas. Its unfair to class all of Harehills or Chapeltown as bad areas when to be honest there are some lovely streets. I'm fortunate to own my own home near Harehills Park, the streets are clean, the neighbours are friendly, all properties are well maintained and I have never had any trouble. Admittedly there some terrible streets minutes away but there does appear to be some degree of improvement by both the council and private investors. If only something could be done to rid the chav's of this world that cause all the trouble, mindless vandalism and abusive behavour then these areas would be more inviting to others.

Louise
I live in harehills and every day I see the problems within the area. The main problem Is that the community is poor, uneducated and abandoned by a coucil more concerned with property development than community development. Young people roam the streets probably because there is no where to go - no leisure facilities no skate parks like in affluent Roundhay. Landlords eat up the available housing and rent out to people regardless. Unlike council property which is monitored and maintained. Harehills has the densest population per square mile in europe mainly because of the back to back houses being split into as many as three flats. The geaographical area cannot support this level of overcrowding. I wonder what Charles Dickens would make of it? On a more positive note there are many decent hard working people like myself who live in harehills because we cannot afford anywhere else. The area is not all that bad, it can be improved and young people need to be able to aspire to more than getting a house as a single mum. They need poitive role models to distract them from the notion of the Hood and Gangsta rule.

michael
i think that the harehills and chapeltown boundaries are the roughest of all places. i sometimes walk through harehills to go to a friends but i cant even get there without being bricked and stoned

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