Christmas Feast 0194

05 Jul 2024

Social Life report for Woodberry Down out now

We commissioned research to find out what residents of Woodberry Down think about their area.  

This social impact assessment carried out in summer 2023 on our Woodberry Down regeneration scheme in Hackney. It involved a mixture of door-to-door surveys, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, walking interviews and workshops, and repeats research we did in 2019/20. It looks at the experiences, attitudes and everyday life of people living on Woodberry Down alongside the impact of the regeneration programme, 15 years after it began. 

By listening to what residents tell us we can continue to shape our services towards them and what they need. It’s an important piece of work which will influence our work as the regeneration continues.  

“What I like about Woodberry Down compared to other sites is the real sense of community…at events there are new people but you also see familiar faces…people help each other out.” –Stakeholder 

Positive factors from the report include wellbeing, neighbourliness and satisfaction with facilities. Residents feel satisfied with their quality of life and wellbeing. A huge part of this can be seen in our work with the Let's Get Active programme, which runs regular free fitness classes at Woodberry Down. Let’s Get Active are a well-established delivery organisation in the area and have grown over the years by getting more and more locals involved. They’re now also working with local GPs and health centres to gain referrals to their health coaching service giving residents a one-to-one approach to create an action plan so they can achieve wellbeing goals. During 2023/24, 555 residents accessed physical wellbeing activities with our help. 

Neighbourliness on Woodberry Down is stronger than in comparable areas and residents have a significantly higher level of trust in their neighbours. The strong existing community has formed the basis of a new, larger community, while Woodberry Down Community Organisation being one of our regeneration partners has providing a resident’s voice throughout. 

“There’s always stuff being put on…Winter Fest, Hidden River Festival, Summer Fest, Intergenerational Fest…[these] are occasions where people come together as a community.” – Stakeholder 

Stakeholders and residents told us that community events and festivals are important occasions for bringing together people from different backgrounds. They attract residents from a variety of backgrounds and encourage them to mix and socialise. Our socio-economic programme supports a range of annual events, including the popular Hidden River Festival and InterGen Fest. The past year has also seen a particular focus on cultural diversity with two Black History Month events, celebrations of Eid and the Windrush anniversary. Through partnership working and direct funding, we are proud to be able to help local organisations deliver these varied range of events across the estate to help the community come together.  

“We didn't have this many outdoor areas to play. It was just tall towers. There were a few patches of green spaces, but not really any designated areas for kids to play. So this [Spring Park] is all brand new…and then they've made a path around the reservoir. Now they can go for a nice walk along the reservoir.” – Local resident 

At least 70% of residents say that they are satisfied with all facilities, with those relating to health, leisure, sports and socialising receiving the highest satisfaction scores. However, we found that both young and older people feel that their needs can be better met. We are considering options on how we can support the needs of the younger and older generations within our phase 3 community space. This has yet to be fully decided, but we are looking into the needs that have been highlighted so this space can support these groups. 

Some of the more negative points were around the regeneration itself, with many saying they don’t feel they have influence over local decisions, which is down from 2019. Perceptions of the regeneration have become more negative - a lower proportion of residents agree that the regeneration has benefited them or their family and that the regeneration process has been inclusive of all residents.  

“…it was much more dangerous when I was growing up. There was a lot more gang violence. I remember seeing a lot of police all the time. But as I've gotten older, that’s changed.” – Young resident 

Young people in particular say they don’t feel engaged around the regeneration with those under 25 being the least likely to agree that changes in the area have benefitted them or their family. To combat this we have helped establish the My Place project, which recruits and trains local young people to be community ambassadors and be actively involved in the recent consultation process for the masterplan. The group has also engaged with ward councillors and had the opportunity to present to the regeneration partners about topics that are important to them. This work around engaging young people in a meaningful way has just begun and we are looking to develop this project and group of young people as the regeneration develops each of it phases. 

The findings of the Social Life report are crucial in ensuring that residents influence our work as the regeneration continues. We are proud to use the opportunity to maintain a dialogue with the community, and to act on the issues that matter most.   

You can see the full summary report here