Empowering The Community
Green Man Lane residents to benefit from new programme
A community-led development and skills programme is being launched at Green Man Lane in Ealing, as part of a proposed £136m regeneration project for the estate.
Long-term youth worker Jackie Sear, founder of E.A.S.E (Empowering Action and Social Esteem) and the Estate of Mind project, has been brought on board to establish the programme.
Consultation is currently under way on creating services and workshops for the residents at Green Man Lane.
The project could offer the residents the chance to benefit from some of the services that they feel are needed at the Green Man Lane estate such as a crèche, buddy scheme and workshops or activities for teenagers and younger children.
Jackie, a former resident of the Green Man Lane Estate, moved to Copley Close estate in Hanwell in 1996. She had always wanted to start her own business focusing on helping younger people in the community and her move triggered this.
Jackie, who is a Law graduate, comments: “At the time, Copley Close had a reputation for antisocial behavior, drug dealing and related crime and had nowhere for children or teenagers to play. I knew that I couldn’t move again and I didn’t want my children to grow up in this environment so I decided to do something about it. I was lucky that I had the work experience and education that enabled me to make my idea become a reality.''
Knowing the only way to improve the estate was by getting the community involved, Jackie worked to find out what residents wanted and tried to get all of the community groups together to tackle the situation.
“E.A.S.E was established in 2001 and having just completed a law degree, I was able to ensure that I was keeping to all of the policies and laws surrounding these types of community projects. We started by conducting a survey of all of the residents to find out which services they felt they needed and any skills they wanted to develop. This was crucial for funding purposes and the results gave the residents an idea of what their neighbours were really like.
“From the survey information, we set up a series of workshops tailored to the interests highlighted which included art workshops for primary school children on the estate where they could draw what they didn’t like about living there. Photography workshops were arranged for teenagers so they could photograph areas they considered unsafe on the estate. All of the work was displayed at a community event.
“We managed to get funding to launch a buddy scheme for adult residents, to help them get advice where needed, especially in cases of housing, domestic violence and immigration problems.”
Having proved the value of the project to the community, they managed to secure £150,000 of funding over three years from London Councils for a training programme to create similar community projects in over 32 groups within estates across Ealing and Hounslow. In 2005 they opened an office on premises of an old sweet shop on the Copley Estate and soon after Estate of Mind was started to recreate this model and provide support to estates across London.
Currently residents at Copley Close run the following services and clubs for other people on the estate:
- After school clubs for children
- Summer holiday clubs
- Qualifications for children between 12-19 like AQAs and youth work qualifications
- Buddy schemes for adults
- Online learning schemes
- Training and employment workshops
- Healthy living workshops
- Domestic violence buddy scheme
She adds: “There are real employment opportunities in the creative and sport industries. We are working with companies like Island Records and Adidas to set up career workshops to inform young people and adults about these industries and offer work placements. We are also in talks with well known British artists like Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and Tiny Temper to come to the estate and run a workshop for the younger residents.”
Since April this year, Estate of Mind has been consulting on creating services and workshops for the residents at Green Man Lane. The Residents Association chair, Anne Fabing, has been a keen supporter of empowering the community and creating an environment where there is a support network for all members.
Anne Fabing comments: “The regeneration project at Green Man Lane will improve the environment we live in but without the community coming together, the same problems and issues will arise. We want to create a place where everyone is much more involved in the running of the estate and where there are services available to everyone. By defining ourselves what facilities are needed, we can ensure that children have enough activities to get involved in and that everyone has more respect for the place they live in.”
After the surveys have been completed, Estate of Mind will be training residents’ association members to take control of the various services that are needed on the estate and ensure that they can sustain these changes.
Jackie comments: “Green Man Lane is our biggest project to date and we are looking forward to working with the community. It is our long-term plan to work on estates across London and to create a support network with annual sports tournament, art exhibitions and even social events across all of the estates. Hopefully this will help prevent postcode wars and by giving younger people opportunities to do something they enjoy and belong to, tackling some of the serious issues communities face.”
For more information, visit www.greenmanlane.co.uk or www.estateofmind.org.uk
23 June 2010