Student Launches New Portswood Street Lighting Campaign

Campaigning Third Year student Row Trevellyan has launched a new campaign to improve the street lighting in Portswood. Student safety in Portswood is a contentious issue; two years ago one student […]

Campaigning Third Year student Row Trevellyan has launched a new campaign to improve the street lighting in Portswood.

Student safety in Portswood is a contentious issue; two years ago one student ran a similar campaign to improve the lighting situation with some success. The Tab caught up with Row to find out more:

Soton Tab: What made you want to set up this campaign?

Row: Last year I lived on Gordon Avenue with five other girls; we were constantly hearing about burglaries and other crimes in the area, and someone was stabbed a couple of doors down from our house near the Gordon Arms. A dear friend of mine was also involved in an attack in Portswood last year, and I hate to think that something like that can happen again moments from our doorsteps. Doing something about the crime in Portswood, and helping people feel more safe has always been in the back of our minds, but due to our degree commitments we have always been too preoccupied to give a campaign like this justice. Now we are finishing our degrees with a lot of time on our hands, we would like to pursue this issue and somehow make a difference.

What are the next steps after the social media campaign?

We are going to do a campaign launch timed with the end of exams.  This event will be more about promoting street awareness and night safety, rather than the street lights.  Once more people have got on board with the campaign, we will discuss with Portswood Police about more police patrols, and the Council to discuss lighting up areas which are either inadequately lit or not lit at all.  If need be we will also launch an online petition to prove to the Council how strong the support is for this campaign.  Fundamentally, it is all about education and awareness.  SUSU have made tremendous steps into raising awareness and improving night safety; we think we could also work together with SUSU and highlight the issues with future first year students who may not be aware of the problems.

How do you feel about the reaction so far to the social media aspects?

The reaction so far has been great! We didn’t anticipate we would get almost 900 likes in 22 hours.  People clearly want to see something happen and we are thrilled to have the public’s support for this campaign.

Where are you mainly going to focus on?

Back in 2010, the Southampton City Council set up a 5 year street lighting plan to improve the safety of the city’s wards.  According to their website, Portswood’s lighting was finished December 2012, however a lot of the residents believe it is not good enough.  There are key areas that have been omitted, and some areas that have remained in darkness completely; for example the alleyway behind Co-op and the popular footpath linking Avenue Campus to The Avenue.  We have set up a poll on the Facebook page for people to vote which roads they think need more lighting, and the highest votes will be the focus roads for the campaign.  This campaign is all about the residents and students of Portswood.

What do you hope to achieve that the campaign from a couple of years ago didn’t?

The last campaign came at a great time, because in March earlier that year the Council had just agreed on their 5 year plan to light up Southampton.  Their campaign was very well led and was heavily involved with the Liberal Democrats Party, overall getting 1000 electronic signatures on  It is unsure whether their campaign helped light Gordon, Avenue and Alma Road, or if it was the 5 year plan, but it was a tremendous and inspirational effort.  However, this campaign is different because it not only focuses on street lighting, but increased night safety awareness and police patrols.

You are graduating this year so why now? Are you going to follow this project through when you are graduated?

Until now, we have been exceptionally busy with our degrees and haven’t felt we have had enough time to commit to something like this. Now we are graduating, we have enough time to fully focus on this cause, and hopefully see something come of it. Now is also perfectly timed; not only because everyone is currently procrastinating on Facebook, but it fits perfectly with the end of exams going out hype which is notoriously known for increased crime. We may be leaving University, but a lot of our friends in younger years will be moving into Portswood next year, who may not be fully aware of the crime issues and we’d like to raise awareness on their behalf. If all this campaign does is make people think twice about walking home alone, and would’ve therefore prevented a crime, then we’d be happy with that; but we are determined to make this work.

Show your support! Like the campaign on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter