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WV11 - the Wednesfield blog

Nick Booth | 10:33 UK time, Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Steph Jennings and James Clarke are pretty clear why they write the Wednesfield blog "People don't understand how good this place is," they both say.

Steph had lived in Wednesfield for most of her life, leaving briefly but returning to raise her son. "It was in the moving back I suddenly realised what the area had to offer. Anyone who's lived here all their lives can only see the negative. There is so much that the area has to offer that I think people need their eyes opening."

James moved to this part of Wolverhampton from what he calls a 'nicer' neighbourhood. "It amazed me the kind of community spirit there was - within 12 months every grand-dad and granny says hello to me, even though I'm big and beardy.

"I'd never experienced this, but still people were down on the area."

The defeat of a campaign to save a local school from closing was what finally spurred them on. They felt that whatever was happening locally, people deserved an online forum for the place where they lived in - an opportunity to freely air their views.

So now they keep track of local community meetings, report the occasional hard news story, and build up a picture of a place that's good to live in.

But what's interesting is also how they're creating a place that helps people and public services work together. Kate Hughes is the Communications Manager for Wolverhampton Homes, the organisations which runs Wolverhampton Council's social housing. She is herself a blogger and a strong supporter of the work Steph and James do.

"It's as important as the local newspaper, if not more."

Kate sees a difference in motivation between what this site does and what traditional journalism does:

"One person is paid to do it and another isn't. Steph and James have jobs, have other things going on in their lives, but they still do it. They set it up from their bedroom and that's how much they care about it. That makes me think they must care about their area.

"I want all the other areas to have sites like this. It would be easier for us to engage with the local population and anti-social behaviour is easier to tackle because people can talk about what's going on."

To listen to Steph and James talking to me click below or listen via the site.


To listen to Kate Hughes' thoughts, click below - or listen via here.



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