Keeping Bristol safe

By Joel Oladapo

Envision taught me about getting stuff done, basically. It was my first real experience of planning something, and sticking with it. Before that, I’d never really ‘put on’ anything before.

I decided to get involved cos I don’t think people are aware of issues that are right there. Sometimes it takes a crime or an accident or something for people to actually open their eyes. I really wanted to help break that cycle.

Let’s make people aware, and prevent bad stuff from happening. Let’s not just all sit back and wait for it.

My team felt that there was a big lack of awareness around street safety, especially among young people. Most of us didn’t feel like it was something that we’d ever had much guidance on. People just think Bristol is really safe and peaceful, when actually they might be putting themselves at risk.

We wanted to make young people more aware of the dangers, so we decided to hold an awareness event about street safety. We deliberately targeted our peers as we all felt they’d be most likely to listen to what we have to say.

We got to pitch our idea to a panel of ‘dragons’ at the Pitch4Change event. I was really nervous about that, so it was amazing when we found out that we’d come second. I felt so proud of myself after that. I didn’t think I could do it, but I’d done it, and I realised that it’s actually quite exciting to step out of your comfort zone. 

I think the buzz from that was what made me ask a local radio station if I could go on and talk about what we were doing.  

They said yes, so I was on live radio! I was nervous, but it was really exciting too. It was cool how Envision was making me do things I never thought I would – or could.

We worked with loads of different people to make the event happen. We asked a martial arts instructor to do a workshop on personal safety and invited two policemen to come along to talk about how to keep safe on the streets. We also asked a lady from Victim Support to bring some information along for a stand. They were all really impressed with what we doing. I think sometimes people think that young people don’t really care about stuff.

It was hard work co-ordinating everything, and sometimes it was hard to stay motivated. But when we had the event, and loads of people came, suddenly it was all worth it.

It’s taught me that if you have an opportunity to do something good: grab it, take it. And if you’re going to do something, do it to the end, even if it takes a lot of effort.

The best part is that we’ve left a legacy. Young people know how to protect themselves now, and we gave out free attack alarms to protect them too. It feels really good to know that we’ve given young people a tool that could potentially save their life. That feeling that we’ve contributed to society is something I will always cherish.