This year, we have been working closely with Hackney Citizens which is part of Citizens UK. Hackney Citizens is an alliance of civil society organisations who work together to bring about change in our community for the common good. In Hoxton, St John the Baptist Primary School have been working with six other organisations to build local campaigns to improve Hoxton for everybody. Our School Council have been trained in leadership and also have built their own local campaigns.
Firstly, we did a listening campaign with children and parents from across the school community to identify what we care about most. We identified priorities for the development of Shoreditch Park. These were:
We presented the findings at an event with people from across Hoxton and all the local Councillors. We’ve recently received a response from the Mayor who is working with us on our priorities.
Secondly, we identified a top issue for our immediate neighbourhood, which is road safety. We realised the crossing on Pitfield Street is dangerous. One of our teachers was recently hit by a cyclist and students often feel nervous to cross the road on their own. So, we built a campaign. We gathered signatures from across the school community. We dressed as zebras and invited people from the council who were responsible for road safety to meet with us and hear our presentation. We were successful. We asked them to make us a ‘Cycle Slowly Please’ sign and they were so thoroughly impressed that they said yes.
Thirdly, we recently held another demonstration to gather signatures for our petition for a crossing patrol officer. The zebra crossing near Pitfield street is unsupervised and many of the children in our school use that crossing, but cars and cyclists don’t always stop to allow safe crossing. We believe having a crossing patrol officer will make it safer for all children and families to cross in the mornings and afternoons. We gathered many signatures for our petition and will forward these on to the Hackney Council.
Along with Hackney Council and Hackney Citizens UK, we designed a sign encouraging cyclists to stop at the zebra crossing and allow pedestrians to cross. We were joined by parents, members of Hackney Council and a Junior Road Safety Officer for the unveiling of the banner. We then hosted a ‘Respect the Zebra’ Pitstop, talking to cyclists about safety around crossings.
All of our hard work culminated in a ‘Respect the Zebra’ Action day for a safer Hoxton. We worked alongside St John’s Church Hoxton, Hackney Citizens UK, St Monica’s Primary School and Randall Cremer Primary School to present a charter identifying all the asks – including the petitions and reports to Cllr Feryal Demirci. Cllr Bramble joined the event too. As a result, the Councillors have agreed to make a number of life-saving changes: repainting the zebra, adding a ‘slow down’ road markings, possible adding two-speed indicators and finally – the will employ a lollipop person! We can now tell the local community that the ‘Respect the Zebra’ campaign for a safer Hoxton was a success!