Film ID:
YFA 5835

TASK FORCE CHAPELTOWN

1986

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a Yorkshire Television documentary about Chapeltown, Leeds.  The programme focuses on the deprivation and lack of jobs, especially for young black men, in the light of the new Task Force that has been established to create jobs. It consists mainly of interviews with locals in Chapeltown, as well as the head of the Task Force, the local police chief, and Employment Minister Kenneth Clarke.  A follow up programme was made the next year, also by Yorkshire Television, titled, Chapeltown One Year On.

The film begins showing images of the rioting that took place in Chapeltown in 1981 and the resulting burnt out shops on Chapeltown Road.  It then shows the repairs that have been carried out in the subsequent five years, and people in the area of different races going about their daily lives, and some of the rundown areas.  There is an interview with a black youth, William James, working out in a gym.  He has spent time in prison and is looking to move on, but is unable to get a job.  

A brief history of the area is given, from when it was a village to the arrival of a large Jewish community, followed by refugees from Eastern Europe after the war and subsequent immigration.  Several other locals are interviewed on the streets, all giving a rather cynical view of the supposed £1 million to be provided for the area by the government as part of the new Task Force scheme.  Kenneth Clarke, the Employment Minister, is heard giving a speech in the House of Commons on the new government initiative of Task Forces.  He is then interviewed outside Parliament explaining the rationale for the scheme.

There is more film of the people of Chapeltown on the streets, and more interviews.  William James is shown going into the Scott Hall Sports Centre and is again interviewed, expressing his despondency about the future.  The film switches to show a Rastafarian (Les Perkins?) waking up, getting out of bed, dressing, crossing his terraced street to play pool with friends in the local pub.  He says that there is nothing else to do, but that it gets boring, and that he needs a job.  The programme says that the only work to be had is in housing renovation, a job which is shown being carried out.  However, contractors employ workers from outside the area, and as a result, do not provide a benefit for those who live in Chapeltown.  

There is then an interview with some young black men on a Leeds Community Programme making a pathway in a park.  They feel that what they are doing isn’t proper work, but is better than nothing. Chapeltown Police Station is shown, with policemen and women being briefed, while the commentary explains the problems of the relations between the police and the community. This is followed with an interview with the Chapeltown police chief, who says that the area has a 20% ethnic minority, and his main job is fostering good relations with the community.   

Chapeltown is shown at night, pubs and clubs lit up, with interviews with two young prostitutes.  A couple of Rastafarians are interviewed and they express their resentment at the police for harassing them for smoking cannabis, which they argue is much healthier than alcohol, and ignoring the prostitutes.  The film then goes into a "blues" or "shebeen" (illegal drinking club), with dancing to the reggae music in a crowded low room.

There is an interview with John Lister, head of Chapeltown Task Force, showing the Task Force office, and other Task Force workers talking about their projects and finance.  The film switches again to a small recording studio in a terrace house, where some young black men and women are recording a song.   The person who set it up talks about the music and what he hopes to achieve.  In another terrace house on Burley Road, Leeds, where Radio Aire is situated, black disc jockey Mikey Dreadlocks is on air.  He talks about the importance of music, but that this is no substitute for jobs.  There is more of the interview with Kenneth Clarke. The film ends with a hall full of black and white people dancing in the West Indian Centre, with others playing dominoes. 

Director - RON ABERCROMBIE
Reporter - ROBERT HALL