Creating homes AND communities

Creating homes AND communities

Homelessness is a huge issue in England in particular London, but the difficulty not only lies in finding and building accomodation, but also making sure people that have been classed as homeless are not just a government number and they are recognised as individuals who need help and support.  

Ealing Council and QED Sustainable Urban Developments have done just that, they have created both homes and communities.

In 2017 together they opened two meanwhile developments of ready to live in accomodation made using offsite manufactured homes (OSM).  This has provided 94 apartments and housing for 420 people.  The developments include communal space, onsite management offices, laundry and refuse storage and house young families and low-income individuals in need of immediate emergency accommodation.

Once stage one of getting individuals and families into accomodation was completed in 2017 QED set on stage two of creating communities in these developments. Working with social enterprises Cultivate London and ARTification in 2018 has led to community spirits being established.

Cultivate London work with unemployed young people to teach them landscaping and horticulture, with the view to improving their long-term prospects by educating them about fresh produce and where it comes from. Individuals learn valuable skills to help them secure employment, and are less likely to find themselves in a vulnerable situation in the future. Through working with residents in both developments they have landscaped and planted food.

ARTification links artists and communities with the council and developers: this bridging role creates an exciting space.   By teaming up with local renowned street artist ATM and artist Karen Francesca artwork is now in place on the exterior of one of the developments.   By working together with the residents the artists have been able to create a powerful statement with expressive art that residents have been involved with.

Rachel Pepper, Director at ARTification said: “Hope Gardens is an exemplary initiative, highly innovative in the approach to London’s housing problems and urban aesthetics thanks to the vision of Robert Turner who brought the Local Authority, QED and ARTification together. The Meath Court public art project successfully connects and unites the people and planners, indeed locating public art as a planning condition of the development.

“The public art project began with community engagement workshops in and around the estate and at our W3 gallery where the artists developed the community mural with local residents. This evolved into the mural creation itself where members of the community helped with preparing and painting the mural. ATM painted the beautiful kestrel souring over the estate, whilst the wildflower meadow scene is a collaborative piece where Karen Francesca supported residents. We are all happy with how the project brought people together and continues to be a landmark focal point of beauty.”

ATM streetart said: “It was a very successful project, we had so many residents and people passing by telling us how much they like the painting and appreciate it being there, as it makes a big difference to their daily lives and cheers them up. We also managed to get a lot of the children and some of the adults who live in the emergency housing involved, either by doing paintings on paper on the floor outside or helping with the mural painting itself. As well as being good fun for all concerned, this enabled us to talk about the importance of a healthy ecosystem, which includes the whole web of soil, insects, flowers, birds and mammals, and how this affects our health too, and is so important to protect and recreate. We even got to teach some moth identification to the children, as we found them sitting on the mural as we were working. So hopefully we have sparked an interest in these subjects and a desire to do more on a local level to help re-greening. So, it was a big success all round.”