Being of service to make a positive difference!
Seeing Ryde from a child’s perspective – JB Savage, Head of Design Technology at Ryde School with Upper Chine
“As part of my role at Ryde School I do a lot of outreach work and I was delighted to be asked to be involved with the Ryde Heritage Action Zone.
“There is fantastic potential and I am filled with hope. I’ve been living on the Island for the past four years having worked overseas for several years in Europe, South America and the Middle East.
“The Isle of Wight has always been a special place to us, for summers on end we have come to visit my father who had spent a good proportion of his childhood here as a boarder at Bembridge School.
“I think it is important that young people are encouraged to have an input with the plans for Ryde High Street.
“By looking through their eyes, you will see the project from a different perspective – older generations want to help but we need to let the vision in part come from a younger generation.
“For example, the children at our school like to go into town and get a snack to eat. It would be great to have places in the High Street where you can sit out and eat that feels safe. A place where they can socialize after their day at school or a place boarders can visit at the weekend.
“I’m also in charge of the Summer school that brings students from all over the world. As a seaside town, I can’t help feeling that Ryde is missing out on making the most of the opportunity it has to impress and there are things it could do to make itself more attractive to young people.
“While it is important to preserve history, we have to be careful we are not just preserving buildings for the sake of it. We need to look to the future and think about how they could be used.
“If you go to London, you often see the facades of buildings have been restored but what goes on behind that frontage is something completely different from the original purpose for the building.
“For example, there is talk of restoring Ryde Theatre, but young people see a trip to the theatre as a special event. They would be keen to see that space being more adaptable and user friendly.
“Is there an opportunity to create an education zone? Taking over a library and creating an i-pad learning centre.
“Young people would ask for a shopping mall with a variety of shops inside – these are big projects, but we should also look to the longer term as well as making visible changes more quickly.
“It would be good to work on a couple of shop fronts first to make an impact and show people that change is happening.
“Our school motto is to be of service, and I am looking forward to my pupils getting involved. They will be surveying parents and local people to see what they think, and I will be asking them to create photo books.
“They will take photos of the existing shop fronts and come up with their own designs for how they could be re-done.”