We visited Coventry area where people 'fear going out' and saw the behaviour plaguing the community

A patch of tarmac by the Dr Phillips shopping centre in Wood End, June 2024
-Credit: (Image: Local Democracy Reporting Service)

People in Wood End are “scared” to go out at night because of anti-social behaviour. Youths set off fireworks, throw eggs and ride bikes on the pavements, voters told us.

The Coventry neighbourhood is in the top 10% most deprived in the UK. It recorded one of the city’s lowest turnouts in 2019 at polling station St Chad’s Church.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service visited earlier this week so see what is on people’s minds ahead of polls opening on 4 July, and if they're more likely to vote this time around. Here is what three residents of the area said.


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We spoke to Beauty, a support worker, by the Dr Phillips shopping centre. A group of lads was hanging out there, some of them riding small motorised bikes on the pavement.

A patch of tarmac by the Dr Phillips shopping centre in Wood End, June 2024
A patch of tarmac by the Dr Phillips shopping centre in Wood End, June 2024 -Credit:Local Democracy Reporting Service

She told us: “I think the main issue is the way that you can see how noisy it is but you can't do anything about it.” Kids throw eggs at the doors and sit outside at night “throwing things” on those going past, she said.

Beauty said she is “too scared” to go out in the evening. “It's worse when there's time for fireworks and stuff like that. You can't just go out and feel safe,” she told us.

“Sometimes a thing for the water they'll open that and just let it run, for no reason. I think it's awful.” As we spoke, a car raced down the road and skidded round a corner.

“We’ve got children,” said Beauty, pointing out that it’s a street where there are kids. “How safe is that?" On politics, she said you can vote expecting a change and then find out there is none.

“But you just have to think one day everything will work out,” she added. Beauty is still hopeful things can change and says she has always voted and always thought her vote mattered.

"I've always voted Labour for some reason, because I think in some times on their policies it's more relaxed. I think Labour is for the poor people, while this Conservative [sic] is for people who are rich, and when you are poor like me, it's not easy too."

On the cost of living she said she is “managing” as she has a job, but said there are others who want to work but can’t find any. More jobs would help those who are struggling she said.

We met Karen by a park picking litter, which she volunteers to do twice a week to help the community look better. She lives in the area with her family.

A pile of fly-tipping in Wood End, Coventry, June 2024
A pile of fly-tipping in Wood End, Coventry, June 2024 -Credit:Local Democracy Reporting Service

She said her street is “quiet” but added: "I think out here, people don't sort of go to the shops in the evenings because you get groups of lads throwing eggs and stuff at the vehicles.

“Letting fireworks off, usually when it's warmer," she added. "You're talking from probably six, seven in the evening ‘til late at night."

Asked if it stops people leaving the house, she said yes. "I wouldn't go for a walk, my kids wouldn't go for a walk round here."

Karen also plans to vote in the election and we asked why she thinks people might not be voting. "Probably people don't trust the government anymore," she said.

Does she trust the government? "No, I'm certainly not going to vote for Conservatives to send my child to war,” she said.

Asked if there's anything else that's happened to make her lose faith in them, she said: "All of Covid, and like we were told not to go to the parties but they were partying all the time, you know."

Karen knows some but not all of the candidates who will be battling for the constituency next week. But this won't affect her decision - "it just depends who does the best for the community," she said.

Asked if she feels hopeful that things might change after this election, she said: "Probably not, no.

"We'll have to see who gets in and what they do, but I can't see a big change myself." She added: “I think this is just how we are nowadays, it's not gonna change, it's probably just gonna get worse because of supermarkets putting all their food up, even though they're getting all the profits."

The cost of living has been difficult and they’ve had to cut back on a lot of things, but they are “just about” managing, she told us. Karen also said “quite a lot” is done to tackle deprivation in the area but it’s up to people where they spend their money.

"If you wanna spend it on smoking and drinking and whatever that's up to you but no good moaning about not being able to eat or put your heating on. I mean I don't drink or smoke at all because I wouldn't be able to put my heating [on] or food on the table."

Back at the shopping centre we met Paula, who has lived in Wood End for two years. She said it is usually quiet “apart from the lads on the bikes and when they set off fireworks, but not usually too much trouble.”

She also said eggs are thrown at cars and buses. Paula believes it would be “so much better” if the area had more shops - at the moment just two are open in the local centre.

She thinks it would be good to get “something so youths could gather together with their bikes instead of going up and down on the pavements.”

“Like a dirt track, something like that.” Asked about the government, she said they are “alright” but was critical of their policy on bully dogs.

Paula will vote in the election as not doing so “is a waste” she said. “Then I’ll pick the best one to vote for. It would just be good if there was a bit more, the ones for this area, if they’d make themselves more known so people could approach them.”

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