Maryhill Matters aims to address health inequalities in an area of multiple deprivation. The emphasis is on public space and active transport. Pollution, obesity and physical danger caused by traffic have the most severe affect on people with no access to a car, only compounding the injustice. Maryhill Road is an arterial corridor linking the wealthy commuters of Bearsden and Milngavie to the City Centre. Transport strategy gives priority to fast through traffic and gives none to people trying to cross the road, cycling to school, or accessing shops on foot.
Maryhill Matters, therefore, wants to create a centre for Social Justice and Public Space, hosted at Free Wheel North’s Whitehouse at Lock 21 of the Forth and Clyde Canal. In doing so, it aims to forge connections across sectors and between places. For example, we take inspiration from Black Lives Matter.
In 2013, a landmark inquest into the case of 9-Year-Old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah determined that air pollution was a cause of her death. The deprived area of Camden where she lived is blighted by heavy traffic, much like Maryhill. Three of her friends established a group called Choked Up to lobby against the pollution that killed her. They refer to themselves as “a group of brown and black teenagers who want the right to breathe clean air”. Connecting with groups like this will be part of the strategy.
Link to Choked up Guardian Article - Read here
Maryhill has a lot of ethnic minorities as well as high deprivation, the two go hand in hand. But we residents have a right to clean air, no matter who we are, our background, our gender, race, age or ability. And not only clean air, but space to breathe in other ways, a right to play, to have green space, to enjoy some peace away from road rage and a right to just and inclusive places where mental health is nurtured. All these things are mentioned in Glasgow City Council’s strategies and action plans. Unfortunately, their actions are diametrically opposed to their words. The mission is to call them to account and make good the words.
Join the Maryhill Matters movement and help make a difference!