Glasgow & West Scotland

Castlemilk children's plea: 'Build us a supermarket'

Primary school pupils in Glasgow have become award-winning filmmakers as part of a campaign for a supermarket to serve their community.

Pupils at Castleton primary in Castlemilk made a documentary to highlight the lack of facilities for the 14,000 people living in their area.

Called "It's Just Not Fair", it explains how residents face a 75-minute walk to reach the nearest big store.

The five-minute film won Glasgow's Improvement Challenge film festival.

A campaign has been running since 2016 to attract a major supermarket to Castlemilk, an area in the south of the city, developed in the post-war years to accommodate people after slum clearances in places like the Gorbals.

Image copyright Castleton Primary

In their film, the eight and nine-year-olds point out that the lack of a large local supermarket makes it hard for residents to do a weekly shop or access fresh produce.

The children in teacher Jen Kerr's P4 class at Castleton decided to add their voices to the campaign.

Ms Kerr explained: "We decided to enter two competitions run by Glasgow City Council where the theme was community.

"I really wanted to give the children an experience where they would feel empowered and that they had something important to say and their voice would be heard, which thankfully, it was."

'We need a supermarket' - the pupils tell us why

Image caption Castleton Primary pupils put together a series of arguments and then filmed them.

Taylar: "There are 14,000 people in Castlemilk and not one big supermarket. That means we have to travel further to buy food. And our local shops don't have offers."

Sonny: "We need healthy food and we don't want lots of sugar and processed food. It's just not fair."

Annas: "A return bus fare for an adult costs £4.40 and £1.50 for each child. We walked to the nearest supermarket and it took us one hour and 15 minutes. There's no way we could walk back up that hill with our shopping."

She added: "The key issue for me was community equity and the fact there is no big supermarket in the area is making getting the weekly shop just a wee bit more difficult for their families.

"We want for them what most people in urban communities have already."

The class planned the documentary themselves. The pupils chose their roles after learning about the different jobs in the film industry.

They could join the sound team, become camera operators, actors or researchers.

Image caption Teacher Jen Kerr wanted the children to feel empowered that they could make a difference

Miss Kerr said: "I took three children along to the Glasgow Film Theatre to receive the Determined To Make Movies award and they not only won the best documentary, one of the pupils won best presenter and another child won the DVD design award.

"When we returned with the awards it was quite some scene in here."

The children's film has been praised by community campaigner Maureen Cope who has been fighting for local services for many years and started the supermarket campaign in 2016.

She said: "We don't have a supermarket where we can buy healthy food. People have to go outside the area. The transport isn't great and it is costly to get to the nearest supermarkets. There is nothing here and 14,000 people have nowhere to go to access food.

"These kids realise how hard it is for their parents to access fresh food. If you want kids to be healthy they need to have access to healthy food.

"It makes my heart pleased that these kids are activists at that age because you have to fight for what you want and these kids have shown they can do it."

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