Oasis Academy Lister Park students lead community clean-up in Manningham
Students from Oasis Academy Lister Park are also hoping to "start dialogue" with residents in their community, as they prepare to carry out the social action project - which has been organised and led by the students themselves - in Manningham.
The team of youth leaders responded to community concerns over an "unsafe" alleyway near their school, prompting them to partner with local organisation Bradford 4 Better to clean it and ensure that their area does not become "neglected".
During the week, the students - who are aged between 15 and 18 - also knocked on the doors of local residents, informing them of the clean-up and speaking with them about the area in general. As a result of their outreach work, a number of local people have now put themselves forward to join in with Sunday's efforts.
"We are immensely proud of the students, they've volunteered their own time to take on this responsibility and give back to the community", said Jade Ibegbuna, community hub leader at Oasis Academy Lister Park.
"The young people want Manningham to be a place where people visit, to see the history of the area. For so long it has been ignored, so they're taking it into their own hands to make change."
One of the youth leaders, 16-year-old Atyab, said he is "really looking forward" to the clean-up.
"We're opening up dialogue within the community. A lot of the local residents love how focused we are on making a change, and that's been heart-warming to see", he said.
"My ten-year-old brother is coming with me, too - it's really amazing that we all want to help the community together.
"In one of our previous projects, which was called Oasis Smiles, we worked with mosques and food banks to donate food to disadvantaged families across Bradford.
"But this is all just a tiny fraction of the good that's going on in Manningham, and it doesn't get highlighted. We want to combat the negative perception of the area and put Manningham on the map.
"What makes Manningham amazing is the diversity, and the way we embrace each other's cultures. The area deserves to be acknowledged for that, not just for the more unfortunate things."
Another youth leader, 15-year-old Fatimah, added that the project has been a "great experience".
"I'm really enjoying how this is going, and I can't wait for Sunday", she said.
"I know a lot of students have to walk through the alleyway, and it's dangerous.
"There's a lot of rubbish there - for example, there was recently a fridge that someone had just thrown out.
Student Sajida added: “I believe that it’s important for me as a young person to look after the environment I grew up in and improve its sustainability, for the future generations."
Jade Ibegbuna added that the great work being done by the youth leaders is sending a "positive message" across the district.
"We have the 2025 City of Culture bid coming up for Bradford, and our young people here want Manningham to be on that map - this is sending that message out there", she said.
"These students are positive role models. Some of them, including Atyab, have actually left the school and are going on to sixth form elsewhere, but they still want to be connected to this project and to give back to the area.
Yasar Mohammed, the director of Bradford 4 Better, added: "B4B is pleased to have been approached by Oasis Academy, which wanted to hold an action day involving local residents and students from the school.
"The action day will include a deep clean of a back alley, which will be transformed into a usable space. The B4B team are happy to support further schools and local residents to hold an action day in their area which may require on-the-ground transformation."
Original article published via the Bradford Telegraph & Argus on 25th September 2021.