Former Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) student Liam Dargan, who is just about to complete his degree course at Kingston University, is leading a campaign to get community involvement in the future of his home town’s market site, following reports of plans to demolish it.
Liam Dargan told the Lancashire telegraph that he was inspired to do a project on the markets when he noticed how empty the place was and how the stalls did not really appeal to young people. His idea came before Blackburn with Darwen Council earmarked the market for closure after a review highlighted a drop in footfall.
21-year-old Liam said: “I went to the three-day market at Christmas to get a present for my girlfriend who’s the same age as me and I just found that there was nothing that really appealed to me.
“There’s got to be around 2,000 young people in Darwen now with three high schools and when I went to DACA to ask about whether they visited the markets not many of them did. I think people think markets aren’t for young people but I disagree after living in London where plenty of stalls do appeal to people my age.”
“I think it needs to become an adaptable space that can be used day and night but really I believe that it is very important to involve people of all ages from Darwen in the creative process when it comes to the three-day market’s replacement. My project is a great opportunity to give people of Darwen a place to have their say. The market traders and managers were extremely helpful with my project and I’m excited to use my research to hopefully improve Darwen Market.”
Liam who studies graphic design and photography at University, filmed, photographed and surveyed people in and around the market, and also visited DACA to discuss it with the entrepreneurship team and students in year seven and sixth form. He then developed the Heart of Darwen brand to generate ideas and discussion by the community about the future of the town centre. The video above, created by Liam with help from current DACA student Harry Eastham and Kyle Birtwell, an ex student of Darwen Vale and has been studying at Lancaster University, presents the Heart of Darwen campaign.
Alan Brooks, the Foundation’s External Affairs Director said: “Liam’s project is a great example of how the entrepreneurial skills that Aldridge schools help students to develop actively support our academies as catalysts for the regeneration of their communities. Entrepreneurship is not simply about starting businesses. It’s a mind-set of striving to solve problems rather than accept defeat. It gives people the life skills to achieve whatever it is they want to – at school, at university, in their careers and in their life outside of work.”
“We’re immensely proud of the work Liam has done and wish the Heart of Darwen campaign every success.”
Picture courtesy of the Lancashire Telegraph