The rise in popularity of the Facebook Fallowfield Student Group (FSG) has made the awareness of crime in Fallowfield, and specifically the targeting of students, more evident than ever. I caught up with Holly Ledger to talk about the event Fallow Fights Back which aims to raise awareness about the increasing crime rates and to help equip students. Holly is a second-year student at the University of Manchester.
Fallow Fights Back is an event taking place at Uni place on the 14th March, 1-4pm. It is a fun interactive event with a serious message to raise awareness and to bring together a community. Many students have been left feeling distressed or facing mental health difficulties because of recent crime spikes, and Fallow Fights Back aims to counter this.
“Me and some fellow course mates are planning this event as part of our ‘Live events’ module for the second year of our events management degree” Holly tells me.
“Planning started properly in October and we have been building up to it, we attempted a flash mob which we then used as part of our promotional video. Not as many people turned up as we hoped but the video still looked good. The next month we are really going to push the event. The more people that come, the more awareness we can raise, and the more successful it can be.”
With the recent heightened crime in Fallowfield, Holly and her course mates knew they should do something to help: “Its important topic and just feel there isn’t enough being done.” Holly states.
“Through our research, we felt that there hasn’t been anything solidly put into place especially for the mental health effects of it. The effect on mental health of these crimes is being overlooked. We have friends who have been targets of crime – including one friend who was violently beaten up at 6 am and had his nose broken.
“It was hard seeing how it’s really shaken him up and knowing he now has anxiety when having to go outside alone, even in the middle of the day. Uni is supposed to be a safe place. There are so many halls of residence in Fallowfield so it’s such a shame so many people feel so anxious.”
With student crime, it’s easy for blame to get pushed around in terms of who should be taking responsibility to keep students safe. Holly believes, however, that the University isn’t doing enough.
“I know there are some options for help in terms of Nightline, but this is such a big and current issue for students and the university could be doing more in terms of support groups or safe hubs for students.”
There will be stalls all around University place, with local MP Grace Fletcher-Hackwood invited along with others that are to be confirmed.
“We are in discussion with the Owens Park security team and hoping to have them present on the day along with some talks about current security in Fallowfield. We also are going to have information about insurance for students and related freebies such as rape whistles.”
“Smart Combat is also going to be putting on free self-defence sessions for students who can learn basic skills to help them protect themselves and feel confident. We have booked out some spare rooms for this to happen in. There will be glitter and local DJs from different societies throughout the day along with glitter and face painting. Despite the serious message we wanted this event to be fun and uplifting.”
Despite their best efforts, Holly and her course mates have been met with a few challenges along the way.
“We have been really let down by the Greater Manchester police who have been very unhelpful or reluctant to get involved,” Holly tells us. “It just goes to show how much of a problem it is and how important this event is.
“It is important to have the Police on board, so it’s definitely been disheartening that they have been so hard to work with. One of the biggest things have learnt from this is the importance of bringing the community together and working together — so many people are doing some really great things.”
The event is on the 14th March 1-4pm University place.
Buy your ticket here: https://www.facebook.com/events/764351680422668/?active_tab=discussion