Humans of Pollokshields

humans of Pollokshields banner

– A PDA Facebook series –

Humans of Pollokshields is PDA’s new community engagement and research project, which involves photographing and interviewing Pollokshields locals, and sharing their stories across our social media platforms.

More about the project:

Pollokshields community members will have been invited to share about their lives and their thoughts on the positive and negative features of Pollokshields – what aspects of the area that they love, and things they would like to see improved.

This project aims to strengthen PDA’s ties with the community we work with, and to raise awareness of the work we do within the Pollokshields community and beyond. While many of us are struggling with the current Covid-19 restrictions, it’s a way for Pollokshields residents to get to know the people who live and work around them. We believe that the project will help to foster a greater sense of community spirit, in these challenging times when people are spending more of their time online, and are less able to meet and interact with their neighbours.

PDA will also compile the information given by participants on what they think about Pollokshields, to highlight common needs and concerns shared by community members in order to better design our services, and to celebrate the wonderful strengths of this unique, diverse area of Glasgow.

Meet the community members:

*The views expressed in the following interviews are those of the individuals themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PDA.

First up is Bashir,

Bashir is local shopkeeper who runs local grocery shop AL-Hamra Food Store on Albert Drive, which was passed down to him from his older brothers. He has lived in Pollokshields since the age of two and is very attached to the “strong community” here.

In his own words


We asked him what he loves about the area, and what he thinks needs to change.

The diversity of the community.

The range of local businesses that cater for the community.

“Everything is all in the local area; your hairdressers, your local shops, your coffee shops, all that kind of stuff. And obviously it’s a mixed community which is good, and every shop sort of caters for every community which I tend to do with my shop, keep everyone happy… At the end of the day we’re all local neighbours.”

The lack of parking available

“Especially with people double parking, being a school across the road there’s a risk factor with kids coming in and out where cars are double parked… I’ve got customers who come in, they can’t get parking so they go somewhere else that’s got parking. So it’s not good for businesses either.”

The large amount of rubbish on the streets

“It’s not good for the appearance of my shop when there’s beds, sofas, lying outside, it’s no nice… It’s a big issue, you go anywhere; Maxwell Road, the corners and it’s a health hazard – things could go on fire, anything could happen.”

The inadequate street lighting

“I have to put my shop lights on at night-time, and the shop across the road has to put his lights on, so at least the local residents can see where they’re walking… you know at night-time, if a person needs to walk by then they can feel secure, rather than that it’s dark… You go to Shawlands and they have LED lighting systems, it brightens the whole street up.”

Bashir praised the community spirit – his sense of pride in the area was clear:

“In general, Pollokshields itself I think is a nice place. We’ve had ups and downs innit, with the fires that happened across the road there… but it’s a matter of getting together and bringing it back up”

Our second participant is,

Matt who moved to Pollokshields two years ago with his partner and their young daughter Morag.
He and Morag were taking advantage of a rare glimmer of sunshine in Maxwell Square playpark when he kindly took a moment to share his thoughts with us. Matt revealed many reasons for moving to Pollokshields, mainly that they have lots of friends living in the area “so we already had a kind of support network in place which is really useful if you’ve got a young kid.”

We asked him what he loves about the area, and what he thinks needs to change.

The diversity of the area.

It’s a very mixed neighbourhood… I do really like the diversity, I like the mixture of people because I lived in London for a long time and it’s the same kind of vibe there – lots of different people doing very different things from different types of backgrounds.”

The community spirit

“There is a strong feeling of community. It’s harder to see because of Covid – but it’s there.”.”

Lack of services for young people 

“The one thing I think is a really big problem is a lack of services for youth especially since Covid… I think most people have the idea that youth centres and things like that are just there for, like, socialising and they have no other merits and I think that’s not true at all. Socialising is really important but also there’s lots of pathways that that can aid, vocationally and if kids can pursue their interests… Confidence, communication, networking, those are all really important things. A lot of people are very isolated at the moment but the people it’s worst for are people between like 12 and 24.”

He suggested that the community needs to come together in support of our young people:
“I talk to people in the neighbourhood and I sometimes sense a hostility towards people in that age range, there’s a lot of misunderstanding there. So that’s one thing I would want to see change, more facilities. It’s a shame there’s not any of that at the moment.”


Cheers for taking the time to chat to us, Matt!

Next up our third participant is…

 Lorraine, pictured here with her dog Baxter. Lorraine is a regular fixture around Pollokshields – she’s lived here for 49 years and her dedication to the area shows!

To start off with, Lorraine scepticism about some recent developments of “community” spaces saying “It’s no for me, not for me, not for my grandchildren. It’s community, in a way, but it’s no Pollokshields community. I don’t think a lot of the community really use that. It’s all very good and well but do you ever see people really using it?”
We asked her what she loves about the area, and what she thinks needs to change.
The community spirit
Lorraine was keen to praise the community spirit she sees in the area. “Everybody, just saying hello to everybody. That’s it, that’s the community spirit.” Indeed throughout our conversation she would pause to say hi to all of the passers-by – most of whom she knew by name! “The community, it’s changed as a whole. There’s a lot of people have moved in and moved out and now there’s a lot more people moving in and it’s nice.”
Lack of activities for young people
Lorraine feels there’s a huge lack of youth services, compared to when she was growing up.
“There was loads of clubs – loads of clubs! You went from one night, different nights, loads of things! You paid in fifty pence and you went in for the night.”
Referring again to the new community site we were chatting next to, she said “There’s a lot of older kids that would see that as childish. I see a few at the football pitch, but not many – there’s nothing [to do].”
She was keen to emphasise that young people are part of the community too. “People see the young kids as gangs. They’re no gangs! They see them as a threat, but they’re no. See, a lot of them forget they were young too. And it’s a shame. They’re no trouble, they’re just hinging about with their pals. It’s sheer boredom.”
The amount of rubbish and fly tipping in the area
“See another thing, see when they [the council] changed the bins. They got they bins in. They should have kept them where the bins were. But they’ve moved them around, and some corners don’t even have them!”
“And it’s beds, tables, everything – I mean look at that! [pointing to fly tipping] That will be there for a month, two months. And as I said to the wee guys that come around in the wee green van, I say ‘hello boys, you do know, as soon as you’ve picked that up it’ll be full again’.”
Lorraine was full of smiles and energy despite the cold weather and shared her philosophy:
“Get on with everybody. Nobody knows what anybody’s going through, if they’ve had a bad day… Just smile and you’ll see people smile back. Because you’ve broken the silence… Say hello and they say hello back, it does make a difference. And I’m happy if I’ve made someone else happy.”
Well we’re sure everyone will be happy to see Lorraine’s smiling face!
Thank you Lorraine & Baxter
We did our fourth interview with Jason!

Jason has strong ties to Pollokshields, going back generations to his grandparents who grew up here.

He asked us to share this lovely picture of him with his beloved late grandfather, whose vacant shop Jason transformed into G.S.Launderette eight years ago.

Many of his customers assume that the name of his business stands for “Good Service” (which as he pointed out is a great compliment!) – but Jason shared that it’s actually the initials of Gurbachan Singh, his grandfathers’ name.

He told us how he started his laundrette: “I thought, what would be useful for the area? My mother used to go to Allison Street, to the dry cleaners. And I thought that would be useful, you know, cos none of the area has a laundrette. So it took a few years to get off the ground and start getting established, you know, but now I’ve got my regular customers, people bringing their weekly washes.”

We asked him what he loves about the area, and what he thinks needs to change.

The friendliness of the Pollokshields’ community

“I think it’s just, och, you know, like a nice community. The good thing about working here as well, you’re always seeing old friends, old faces. Since I used to go to school, you always bump into old faces and you can talk. It’s nice.”

The amount of littering and fly-tipping in the area 

“I just feel like in the area, it’s a lot of rubbish. I think there’s a lot of people that don’t like that.” “There’s a big sign there as well, it’s a £40,000 fine but people just tend to empty kitchens, they’re just throwing outside, old sofas. Some days you come out and it’s fridges and freezers – right next to the sign that says £40,000 fine!” He joked that people must have so much money that paying the fine is a small price to pay for the convenience of dumping their rubbish in the street!

 Jason was full of positivity about Pollokshields – we are sure his grandfather would be very proud of his commitment to their much-loved community.

Thank you Jason!
This week we meet Shona!

Shona, a performance artist who has lived in Pollokshields for nearly six years. PDA chatted with her in Maxwell Square playpark, one of her favourite spots in Pollokshields to bring her children.

In her own words:

“Here you always meet people. It’s really sociable. That’s what I kind of like about Pollokshields, it feels like a good place for the kids. It feels like a community, you know.”

Shona was a master of multi-tasking – conducting the interview while supervising her kids, and comforting her son who had hurt himself. Special thanks for taking part under these circumstances, Shona!

We asked her what she loves about the area, and what she thinks needs to change.

The amount of local amenities

“There’s lots of things going on , you’ve got the library, the Tramway and The Hidden GardensThe Bowling Green, Pollokshields is really good as well. It’s just got a nice atmosphere about it and it’s not too far from town.”

Reckless driving

“I guess the only thing I would say that I don’t like about it is the fast driving, seems a bit dangerous.” She highlighted that as a cyclist and a mother of young children, the amount of fast cars in the area concerns her.

Cheers for giving your views Shona! 

Project by Jennie Bates:

Jennie Bates is an intern at Pollokshields Development Agency. She is a practicing artist with experience of delivering community arts and therapeutic arts activities. She is currently working towards an HNC Working with Communities qualification at Glasgow Kelvin College, and is undertaking a workplace practice placement with PDA in order to get a better understanding of the issues and challenges in her local area, and how she can help to tackle them.