Harlesden pupils celebrate winning their campaign for lights in Roundwood Park
PUBLISHED: 16:50 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 05 March 2020
© dermot carlin
Harlesden students met with council chiefs to celebrate new lights in Roundwood Park two years after they confronted them at a full council meeting to make the area safer.
Pupils at Newman Catholic College, in Harlesden Road, were joined by Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt, environment chief Cllr Krupa Sheth, and safeguarding lead Cllr Mili Patel on March 4 who congratulated them on their civic spirit.
In September 2018, the secondary school pupils became the first in Brent to make a deputation at a full council meeting. They challenged Cllr Butt to find funds for the lights, as they believed it would deter crime and anti-social behaviour.
Lights are now installed along the Annex path, which runs between the Doyle Gardens entrance and Longstone Avenue.
Owen Freeman, Y10, who is also a leader with Brent Citizens said: "We're proud to finally see the lights on Roundwood Park switch on!
"The campaign started when one of our fellow students was robbed at knifepoint right here, just a few steps away from our school.
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"Not only do we feel safer now, we feel heard and have learnt how to make a difference on the issues that matter to us"
At a meeting ahead of the 2018 local elections Cllr Butt pledged 'I will not only light up Roundwood - I will light up all of Brent.'
Pupils researched where the money to pay for the lights could come from within the council's budget and launched a petition which led to a wider public consultation.
Marlon King, teacher, said: "Roundwood Park wouldn't be a safer place for the whole Harlesden community if it weren't for the leadership our students have shown. It's fantastic to celebrate this achievement with representatives from Brent Council. Our students can now point to these lights as a concrete example of what we can achieve when we take action together."
Ms Susan Grace, assistant head, said: "This campaign win adds to our proud record of working with Brent Citizens to win change, from setting up the largest CitySafe Haven in London alongside local shopkeepers to becoming a Refugee Welcome School."
Cllr Sheth said: "It's great to see young people taking an interest in what happens in their neighbourhood and engaging with the council on issues they care about. We hope that the new lights will help students, and others, to feel safer walking through the park at night."
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