History of TWCP
- Mindful of the partial and divisive effects of regeneration elsewhere in London, local MP Dame Margaret Hodge together with Andy Roberts, Head of Riverside School and supported by experienced community development professional Tricia Zipfel began to explore the possibility of securing funding for a community project to ensure a more balanced, resident-led approach to the current wave of development about to sweep into the area.
Riverside School secured funding for a 6-month project, funded by ‘Power to Change’ to do outreach and develop support for a longer-term three-year programme of work. ‘Power for Change’ identified Thames Ward as a ‘cold spot’ that had traditionally lacked the forms of community infrastructure other areas can access and was keen to support the project in its initial research phase to review the interest amongst local residents for a more sustained piece of work. By the end of the 6-month project over 75 residents indicated a willingness to be directly involved with the project and a further 300 residents agreed to be part of a database of contacts. The work highlighted five themes
- A divide between the older estates and new developments
- Services under pressure as the population expanded
- A lack of communication and little information about existing activities
- A lack of activities for young people
- Tensions between different groups as they struggle to promote their activities
At the end of the ‘Power to Change’ project a recommendation was made to seek long-term funding. This process took over a year and was finally successful in July 2017.
- The Big Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Community Fund) awards the £311,558 to support the creation of the ‘Thames Ward Community Project’ to help build community infrastructure and ensure that both the old and new communities of the area come together to share the benefit of the new opportunities associated with being home to the largest housing development in London.
- The Thames Ward Community Project (TWCP) began in earnest with the successful recruitment of two worker posts, both based at the school, a Director of Community Engagement, line managed by the Head Teacher and a Community Organiser post. A key aspect of the organiser post was to develop a programme of work with Riverside School students, building on earlier work conducted and it is upon this aspect of the work of TWCP that this case study intends to focus. The project was tasked with five core outcomes:
- Helping the community become stronger and more cohesive;
- Helping the community become healthier;
- Helping the community become more confident and skilled;
- Making the environment cleaner and more attractive;
- Developing a resident-led Community Development Trust.