This month we caught up with Stephen Griffith, the Senior Youth Worker at Copenhagen Youth Project.
1. When did you start working in the area?
I came to the area in 2001 as the Senior Youth Worker to manage the Copenhagen Youth Project. Within a year the Copenhagen Youth & Play Partnership raised a substantial amount of money and we created the Copenhagen Youth Project as a charity.
2. How has the area changed since?
King’s Cross Central has arrived, bringing many new faces and businesses into the area.
3. What’s your favourite place in the area?
Kings Place in the morning. The public area is a great space to relax and the outside area provides a nice view of the canal, Tyber Gardens Estate and a mix of both old and new buildings.
4. What do you love about our neighbourhood?
The estates and the people, the individuals in the community who look out for their neighbours and the strong families who do a wonderful job supporting schools and community groups.
5. What’s your favourite community activity in the area?
I could be biased and say Copenhagen Youth Project but I’m going to look beyond us and say Crumbles Castle Adventure Playground. The old Castle and playground is an amazing space where children can play, explore, discover and build.
6. What is your favourite story about the area?
The stories of Highwaymen Robberies and duels at King’s Cross formally known as Battle Bridge one of the traditional routes for the King and his men.
7. What’s the best community initiative you have seen in the local area?
The Skip Garden, I think they’ve created a wonderful initiative that can help people forget where they are and be part of a wonderful learning environment or just escape with some healthy food, a cup of tea or a slice of cake. However, a very close second is the fountains in Granary Square which engages everyone and on a sunny day we see the community at its best.
8. What challenges will the area face in the future?
The widening gap between the haves and have-nots. The resentment from those who feel they have been displaced. Ensuring local young people have access to the many opportunities.
9. Where do you see our neighbourhood in the next ten years and what kind of image will it have?
I see two pictures: the first a wonderful new development with great architecture and design, access to European cities with some of the biggest corporations in the world providing wonderful opportunities for all to access. This in turn will enable a struggling community on the other side of York Way to have access to training, employment, leisure and culture resulting in higher aspirations and an improved quality of life. The second, a wonderful new development with great architecture and design, access to European cities with some of the biggest corporations in the world providing wonderful opportunities which can only be accessed by the few. This will result in a gated community where local people feel displaced and resentful, which in turn can lead to more crime, anti-social behaviour and general negativity.
10. If our neighbourhood had a theme song, what would it be and why?
A world of sweet imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Accessing and enjoying the development is still a long way away for many local people.