Our place in Bellsmyre

Young people from Bellsmyre who were keen to do something to benefit their community have created podcasts to challenge misconceptions of their area.

As the Bellsmyre estate, on the edge of Dumbarton, often gets a bad reputation the Think BIG (Bellsmyre Is Great) group came together to celebrate the good aspects of their community.

One of the first projects they decided to work on was the Think BIG (Bellsmyre Is Great) Podcasts.

The group started by identifying local people who inspired them and who reflected the creativity and ability within the community and interviewed them about their lives and achievements. Local people interviewed by the group included; John McFall MBE, Dylan Mitchell – a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP), a local rapper, someone who had taught in Tanzania and a local resident who had set up the community gardens.

Bellsmyre man John McFall MBE
Bellsmyre man John McFall MBE

Think BIG group member Shannen Vella said: “We decided to do the podcasts as we thought it would be a good idea to show people Bellsmyre is not a bad place. It upsets people that their area has a bad reputation. It was really good taking part in the podcasts, it was fun and we learnt new things. “

MSYP Dylan Mitchell said: “It was a great honour to be invited along to one of the innovative podcast sessions by the dedicated young people who give up their free time in order to challenge the often distorted view and bad reputation that the Bellsmyre area receives.

“It would be a tremendous achievement if I could inspire these hardworking individuals through my role as a MSYP half as much as they have inspired me.”

Bellsmyre Development Trust Activities Coordinator Oli Higham said: “It is exciting for the Trust seeing young people taking an interest in their community. Among the other projects the group have worked on, the podcasting has had the biggest impact. It has been great for the community to reflect on the incredible people who live amongst them.

“It has been affirming and encouraging for those who have been interviewed. I think they have been blown away by the fact that young people are being inspired by their lives. It has also impacted the group hugely. They view their own community differently and are now rethinking their futures and the expanse of possibilities that their lives could take.”

The Think BIG group are centred at the Bellsmyre Development Trust, a community project based in Bellsmyre. The Trust was established in January 2012 as part of Big Lottery Fund’s My Place scheme. After consulting local people, the decision was taken to build a new community centre and employ a team of staff to help facilitate more activities and opportunities for local residents. It now provides a range of regular activities for the whole community including youth clubs, storytelling sessions for young children, bingo mornings, employability drop-ins, coffee mornings, games afternoons, dog walking clubs and community events such as gala days, acoustic music nights, ladies pamper nights, bingo nights, community quizzes and trips.

Link: Bellsmyre Development Trust

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