May 18 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Like any mothers, the women sat in the Pride Of Tottenham on Friday – who all met at the Supamums support network – have high aspirations for their children.
They all want their kids, aged three to 11, to do well in life. But what they can’t all agree on is whether Tottenham, the place they all call home, will let them do that.
Last summer’s riots shone a light on tensions between the police and many in the community – but more than that, the bleak future many young people felt they faced.
Louise Clarke, of White Hart Lane, returned to the area when her daughter, now three, was just two-weeks-old. She is very clear about the future.
“The first chance I get, I will be out,” the 23-year-old said. “It is all just gangs and things like that.”
Others are more positive. Nicola Williams – who watched from her window in High Road with her two young children as buildings burned nearby – argues that raising them well is the key.
The 27-year-old credits her mother with instilling her and her siblings with a clear sense of right and wrong growing up in Hackney.
“My brother is a footballer. He grew up in Hackney but my mum brought him up the right way. He never followed [the troublemakers’] lead. He set himself a goal.
“So, it depends on the parent – how hard they push.”
But Felecia Williams, 25, thinks it’s more difficult than that. The mother of six-year-old Mya said: “I am still worried. Even if you get your children to know their right from wrong, you do not know what they might bet up to when they go out.
“It is the influence of the environment. They still might make wrong decisions. There is a lot of good people who got involved in riots.”
More disturbingly, the women are not positive about the changes which have taken place since the riots.
Trust between the community and the police is still damaged. A few tell stories of innocent people arrested in the wake of the disorder.
Mum-of-two Stacey Fearon, 31, says a friend was arrested for looting because he had a brand new trainers without a box.
She said: “They do not listen. They have not learnt. The riot made no difference. We all try to keep out their way as much as possible.”
Will the much-trumpeted plans to improve Tottenham – more than £1billion will be invested between now and 2025 in the hope of bringing jobs and yet more investment – have any effect? By then, many of their children will be teenagers.
“It is just improving the buildings,” said Nicola.
“What about putting things in place to help young people instead of making the buildings pretty?”
But there is hope things might improve. Already, things are quieter, they say. There is less trouble. Is it the start of positive change?
“To me, you had to be tough growing up in Tottenham. To survive, to get through it,” said mum-of-five and head of Supamums’ Monique Knight.
“But maybe, when this lot get to be teenagers, things will have changed.”