Ely: Action plan to turn around community one year on from large scale riots

Cars and homes were damaged after unrest broke out in Ely in May 2023

A community that was the centre of large scale riots last year is the subject of a new action plan to turn the area around, which includes building better relationships between residents and the police.

More than 1,200 local people were consulted to create a Community Plan for Ely and Caerau, which was published on Tuesday.

The plan – created with the involvement of a grassroots community organisation – sets out actions with the aim of making "a significant positive difference in the coming years."

Actions include introducing a series of programmes for residents and young people in the Ely and Caerau area of Cardiff to help boost their trust in the police, delivering more opportunities for jobs and training for young people in the area, and the strengthening of mental health support for teenagers.

South Wales Police will deliver a series of programmes in the area to try and build a better relationship with the community over time. Credit: PA Images

The plan also includes developing extra-curricular activities on offer, tackling anti-social behaviour "hotspots" and improving green spaces in the area.

Residents consulted talked about a "sense of pride and resilience within the community," and said they have disliked the way the community is often portrayed as "troubled" and without a sense of hope.

The plan said it aims to draw on "the existing strengths" of Ely and Caerau as a place, "rather than simply identifying problems."

It comes as the community was left reeling after the sudden deaths of Harvey Evans and Kyrees Sullivan last year.

Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, were riding on an electric bike when they were involved in a collision in the Ely area of the city.

Kyrees Sullivan (left) and Harvey Evans (right), who died in Ely last May. Credit: Family photo

CCTV showed a police van travelling close behind the bike in the run up to the incident.

Following their deaths, large scale disorder broke out in the area.

Local resident and ACE volunteer Leyton Smith said: “I’m so excited for  these plans about everybody coming together - local people and charities coming together as one, putting their minds together and to move forward with positive directions.

"There’s a lot on the table and I think if we achieve half of that it will be something but we aim to achieve it all."

He added: "We’ve had some stigma in this area for many years but we’re going to knock that on the head and we’re going to get rid of that. We’re all working together - local youth services, faiths, churches, schools, all independent businesses, all coming together to get these youngsters something when they leave school.

"Something is put in place - they’re not forgotten about, we can not be forgotten about any more, we need actions and that’s what this steering group is all about."

The Independent Office for Police Complaints - who've been looking into the actions of police officers in the run up to the deaths of the two teenagers - say their investigation is ongoing.

The IOPC has previously informed the driver of the police van that they are being criminally investigated for dangerous driving.

They had previously been served with a gross misconduct notice, along with the passenger in the police vehicle, notifying them their conduct was under investigation.

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