This guest blog is written by four residents of Rose Hill in Oxford, Margaret Roper, Joe Vosa, Lina Vosa and Eleanor Watts. They worked with Miguel Mocho from Film Oxford on the HUM film project.
This autumn, the four of us joined a free eight-week training course at Rose Hill Community Centre for two to three hours every week. The project was initiated by Oxford Brookes Healthy Urban Mobility Project and was run by Film Oxford. The object was to learn how to interview, film and edit films on themes related to the project.
It was fun! We met some fab people including our great teacher, Miguel. We all brought different skills to the project. Margaret brought her huge knowledge of Rose Hill and her understanding of local concerns. Lina and Joe were extremely good in their knowledge of using the equipment. Eleanor enjoyed interviewing people and planning the structure of the film.
In addition to learning new skills, we also had time to discuss transport in Rose Hill with local people. The first question was: “Why do we need to cycle, what are the problems with cycling and how can we solve them?” Three of our interviewees pointed out that cycling is quick, clean, cheap, healthy and enjoyable. It also relieves congestion and pollution. It helps to reduce carbon too. However, two interviewees were too scared to cycle. The cycle lanes are faded and often disappear. Cars are allowed to park behind or over cycle lanes. Roundabouts and junctions are especially dangerous. We would like separate and continuous cycle tracks throughout Oxford.
We have used the cycling film in a petition to the County Council and City Council. We have asked them to invest massively in a segregated, joined-up cycle network. So far, we have gained nearly 500 signatures and they’re rising fast!
The second project was to “Bring back our Rosie.” Our Rosie is the number 20 bus service to the Cowley Centre, which has been reduced. It now runs only between 10 am and 1.30 pm, so people cannot use the bus to get to work, the bank, the post office or the connecting service to the JR Hospital. Also, it does not go to the lower parts of Rose Hill estate. This means that older and disabled residents have a difficult climb up the hill to The Oval. We would like a full number 20 bus service.
Partly as a result of the film about ‘our Rosie’, representatives of the County Council have recently come to look at the lower parts of the estate to assess our demands.
The premiere of the films was at The Rose Hill Tenants and Residents meeting on Tuesday 6th November and was very well received. A big thank you to our excellent, patient teacher Miguel. Also thanks to Barbara, Tara, Adrian, Marc and Terry for letting us film and interview them. Thanks too to Ben Spencer at Oxford Brookes. We’ve all learned new skills and it has inspired Joe and Lina to buy a new camera. Through the project, we have all become friends and feel it was a great success. We hope there will be another course soon. Hollywood, here we come!