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Paul's story

Paul, a dad of three, moved to an estate in Bethnal Green shortly before Knees Up started working there. He got involved with everything, from parties and a residential trip with his family to community action meetings.

Street scene

I've got three little ones. We'd just moved into the estate last year and at the time they were doing these street parties. I just seen them on Sunday morning at the street party and I thought I'd just go up and say 'do you need any help'?

At the street party we were talking to the people who lived downstairs from us, the Asians – Bangladeshis – and we got to know them well and just got talking and that. And from there some of them come to the meetings, so we've just carried on from there, and every time we see each other we just say hello, so it's been nice.

Where I've lived before, these things never happened, so to come here - we'd only been here a month and then it happened. So it was nice for the kids just after a month of being moved in, they enjoyed it. 

And from then Natalie, the Knees Up manager, said to me we're going to do more things, like a weekend away, and then there were these meetings and that where we're trying to do more things for the estate. It was bit hard, I've never done kind of this thing before, trying to get people involved. But I do it because of the kids, because they loved it.  They came to the children's one and they loved it, you know what I mean, so I thought try and do things to help.

There was quite a few issues to discuss as well with the kind of, different nationalities; a lot of them don't get on, do you know what I mean. It's like we go past - and we've got Bangladeshi friends - we say hello, and some of them don't even bother saying hello, they just walk past… Very ignorant, if you see what I mean, and there is a lot of trouble on this estate.

But I've found there is good in people and bad in people. Sometimes now when I come out of my house, sometimes I stay there for about half an hour talking to another Bangladeshi person, so, it's been nice speaking to people. Since we've been here, we've got to know our Bangladeshi friends and they've even invited us into their house. If we're having problems, we have had confrontations the next door neighbour and she's Bangladeshi, they've said just come and talk to us, come and knock on our door and have a cup of tea and that. So it's been nice like that, we've never known each other like that before, we've always kept ourselves to ourselves.

For that to happen… and we've met other people, just through doing [Knees Up], and the kids play nicely and that, so yeah, everybody's enjoyed it.

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