Since 1994, a group of Balsall Heath residents have successfully battled drugs, prostitution and unemployment destroying the heart of their community. How? By picketing, rallying and setting up a progressive local forum

At first glance, Balsall Heath does not look like the kind of place that would be feted by politicians. Twenty years ago, it was notorious for crime and prostitution, and today it is still within the 20% most deprived areas in the UK. It lies close to the “Balti triangle” in Birmingham, a city whose reputation has taken a battering in recent years, thanks to the so-called Trojan Horse scandal (which saw allegations that some Birmingham state schools were being taken over by hardline Muslims who were undermining headteachers), and the outlandish claim on Fox News that it was a no-go area for non-Muslims.

But something in the densely packed rows of terrace houses, shopping streets of fast-food outlets and sequin-strewn Asian fashion shops has attracted everyone from David Cameron to David Blunkett, from Jack Straw to Iain Duncan Smith.

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Source: Guardian Environment