A group of young people from Rotherham are working with Fixers to challenge the negative reputation their home town has and show why they love living in the area.
17-year-old Emilia Ashton and her team have created a film showing the positive sides of Rotherham – including the town’s award-winning high street, numerous green spaces, and the fact it is now moving towards a child friendly town approach, similar to Leeds.
The group feel that even though it is a ‘friendly, united and welcoming’ place, people who don’t live in the area have negative assumptions about it because of what they have previously read in the news.
Emilia, who is studying for her A-Levels at Wath Comprehensive School, says: ‘I’ve lived in Rotherham my whole life and I love it.
‘There’s a close-knit community, it’s friendly and there’s plenty to do. The town centre is nice if you want to go shopping, there are tourist attractions nearby and we’ve got good educational opportunities with great schools around.’
Emilia feels that the media puts an emphasis on bad things that happen in Rotherham rather than the positive aspects.
‘There has been a lot of negative press about Rotherham and every time the area is brought up in the media it seems to be because of something bad,’ says Emilia.
‘It’s frustrating that people who don’t live here make judgements and don’t see what I see. It’s the bad things that make the news, rather than all the positive things that happen.
‘People say we’re a divided community, and that there’s no future for the young people who live here. But people come from all across Rotherham to work with organisations like the Rotherham Youth Cabinet and Looked After Children's Council on different projects.
‘Volunteers also do a lot of work, like cleaning the side of the river bank.
‘These people all work selflessly to make positive changes for others – you can’t tell me that’s a divided town.’
Emilia, who is also a member of the Rotherham Youth Cabinet, plans to share the film on social media in order to show people who don’t live in Rotherham that it is a good place to be.
‘We’re young people and we’re proud to be from here and we want to show the reasons why. There are a lot of good sides to living here - it’s not just what people see in the news,’ she says.
‘I also want to show other young people in Rotherham that they can be proud of where they are from – we’re the next generation and we’re happy to be here and make a difference.’
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