Film ID:
YFA 5837

CHAPELTOWN: ONE YEAR ON

1987

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Description

This is a follow up programme on a documentary made the previous year by Yorkshire Television titled, Task Force Chapeltown.  The film is mainly composed of interviews with locals in Chapeltown about the area and their prospects of getting a job.  This is in reference to the Government initiative of the previous year of establishing Task Forces in rundown areas in five cities to help create jobs.  The majority of those interviewed express the view that the project has not achieved anything so far.

The film begins with an aerial view over Chapeltown, to the accompaniment of church singing.  Inside the church “Sister Sam” gives a prayer, before the congregation start singing a hymn.  This is followed by film of locals in Chapeltown going about their daily lives.  There is an interview with a young black man, Carl Smith, who talks about the wrong perceptions there are about black men, seen as dealing in drugs when in fact it is just a small minority who do this, and most want to get work and progress.

There is an image of a paper promoting ‘Action for Cities’, and the new Task Force, which has been running for the last 18 months, and which is explained by someone from the Job Centre, John Lister. It is stated that 400 vacancies are coming into the Job Centre each day, but that there are 10,000 locally looking for work. Inside the new Job Centre a young black woman is being interviewed.  An example is shown of a small business that has been helped by the Task Force, a car mechanic, David Langton, seen working on a car, who has opened up a new garage and talks about his future plans.  This is followed by another example, a young South Asian man, Walait Hussein, who has started up a business in his home making fashion wear, but who is planning to move into new premises.  A man is seen ironing one of their suits.   It is stated that little has changed since the Task Force started regarding the proportion from ethnic communities seeking work, 24%.    

In the Citizens Advice Bureau staff members are working at their desks.  One of the managers, Gary Dore, is interviewed.  He says that although the idea of the Task Force may be a good one, he questions the motivation behind it, saying it is political, and that it did little in its first year.  Another young black man, Ez Witter, wearing a Rasta beanie hat, is interviewed. He says that the one million pounds spent is not going to make any significant difference, it is just cosmetic, and that the same goes for any other similarly deprived area. Then Leeds’ City Councillor Garth Frankland is interviewed.  He states that the Council had several projects underway before the Task Force was introduced, but that at the last general election the Conservatives pledged to break up Labour controlled local government, and that meant that local needs could not be properly met.  He states that there is a conflict over priorities, and talks about the need to deal with inadequate housing. 

Gary Dore also says that the priority is reasonable living conditions, “It is unlikely that people will be peaceful if living in squalor.”  There is film of boarded up and derelict houses.   Garth Frankland agrees, and stresses the need for good quality house renovation, which costs more but is more economical in the long-term.  He also says that there is a problem with locals being resentful that private contractors bring in building workers from outside the area, who don’t pay towards the local rates.  Houses are shown being renovated.  John Lister says that there is a problem of a shortage of space in the local area for new industry to be sited. 

At the Nelson Mandela Community Centre black children and teenagers are playing pool, table-tennis and badminton, with a dub reggae song playing in the background.  A young black man, Winston Wilkinson, gives an example of being discriminated against because of his race when going for a job interview.  

There is an interview with police Divisional Commander, John Ellis, who states that it is three times less likely that a black person will get a job.  Police cars and police on foot are patrolling the streets, talking to residents, and the commentary states that crime has risen 5% in the previous year.  Winston Wilkinson says that the police ignore the prostitutes on the streets because they are more concerned to stop young black men.  John Ellis says that the police need to be close to the community and not seen as an occupying force.  He says that small businesses can be put off by the environment. 

The New World Steel Band are playing in a hall. Their founder, Arthur France, is interviewed, stating that those in the band have found pride in what they are doing.  It is stated that over 7,000 young blacks are looking for work.  At the Technorth Information and Technology Centre a young black man is working on a circuit board.  There is an interview with a young black woman, Caroline Gatewood, a former trainee who has found work.  Others are working at computer terminals.

Children are out playing in the back streets which are littered with rubbish and rubble. Winston Wilkinson says that the authorities need to talk to the people out on the streets. John Lister says that the Task Force is working with several different parties, and that is the advantage they have.   Garth Frankland talks of the need to put political pressure on the government to get them to listen to the local people to see what they want.  Carl Smith and Ez Witter again talk about racial discrimination, and Gary Dore says that it is only when people are economically strong that they are listened to.