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'Why don’t you just build a wall around Heath Town and call it an open prison?' – Goldie calls for investment in Wolverhampton

By Kirsten Rawlins | Whitmore Reans | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

Music star Goldie has called for more investment in Wolverhampton's youth and arts services.

Left, Goldie now, and right, Goldie in October, 1985, in Long Ley, Heathtown, commissioned by Wolverhampton Council to paint a pedestrian walkway near Long Ley primary school

Goldie, who grew up in Heath Town and Whitmore Reans, has also criticised the housing system for forcing people to 'live on top of each other'.

"Why don’t you just build a wall around Heath Town and those other estates and call it an open prison?" said the star, now aged 52.

Goldie in the Midlands back in the 1980s

"I’m ashamed of some of the politicians there.

"I’ve never had a political agenda - and never will, while there are people falling asleep at the back of the House of Lords. They can’t tell me about the youths.

"I came from that hood. I get it."

Goldie was born in Walsall as Clifford Price on September 19, 1965.

Goldie has revealed he now talks to his son, who is serving a life sentence for murder, every week - see the full story here

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His dad Clement, originally from Jamaica, left shortly after Goldie was born. His mother Margaret, who was born in Glasgow, was a popular singer in the pubs and clubs of the West Midlands.

Barely more than a toddler, Goldie was just three when his mother placed him into foster care (though she kept his half-brothers). Over the next 15 years, he bounced between a series of foster homes and local government institutions around the Walsall area.

"They’ve created a horrendous situation with everyone living on top of each other," added Goldie.

"They’ve spent money to put in speed cameras all along there, which they say reduces speeding but it doesn’t - it brings in money.

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Goldie (centre) pictured with youth workers outside All Saints Community Centre in Wolverhampton in 2003

"The local government take away the youth clubs - you may as well rip out my heart while you’re at it.

"Why not give kids an area to paint? They should be funded so that they can work in a lock-up.

"There’s security at nightclubs, so why don’t they have places that are open in the daytime where kids can go that have security?

"There’s no shame in having to have security - that’s the world we live in now.

Goldie in 1990 with his PinkLady double decker bus comissioned by Bass M&B's Lady cocktail drink

"There should be places where kids can grow together. They can then invite people in from other areas, so they can get to know each other.

"These young fathers should take the responsibility of taking them to places like that too and do right by their kids. They need to look out for their own."

The star went on to say that while the local authority has invested money in Heath Town, he believes it has only affected the area's outside appearance; rather than addressing its deeper issues.

"If you had a timelapse camera in Heath Town and you could see how much it’s changed…" he added.

"Things being pulled down and replaced to make it look better from the outside - but with what outcome?

"They do all this refurbishment, and it looks better, but where’s the money for the youth?

"Wolverhampton has always been very close to my heart."

Goldie meets David Cameron in Wolverhampton city centre back in 2007

A council spokesman said: “It is good to hear Goldie still has an interest in his hometown.

"However, now he is living so far away in Thailand, perhaps he is not aware of the large-scale improvements being made on the Heath Town estate.

“This will transform the area and provide better housing with gardens and facilities for the community. Wolverhampton is also home to the £5.5 million The Way Youth Zone, which thousands of young people are benefitting from.

"The city also has a thriving arts and culture scene. And something Goldie would no doubt approve of – a sanctioned space for street artists.”

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_native

Online Entertainment Editor for the Express & Star, Shropshire Star and Native Monster. E-mail me kirsten.rawlins@nativemonster.co.uk, or phone 01902 319368

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