Building stronger communities
12/02/2012 8:01 pm
Following on from the publication of The Riot Report we're looking at how social landlords can get involved in building stronger communities this week. To kick off the discussion we've got an article from New Charter Housing Trust's Tony Powell on family intervention projects, and there is also all the good work highlighted in The Riot Report itself. We'd love to hear about the work you are doing in this area, and your thoughts on how and why the housing sector should get involved.
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13/02/2012 3:01 pm
I'm reminded by the report elsewhere on the redvelopment at Craylands, Basildon, that Swan have been doing valuable work for many years, and currently. Not only using estate regeneration to target improved environments Swan have used social support and uplift, tying into neighbouring resources and part supporting resources for residents to be advised and to self improve through.
I hope someone at Swan offers fuller details, but they may not connect the two as obviously this item is looking at the post riot scenario as if work has not been ongoing.
Inside Housing staff post
15/02/2012 11:23 am
Over on Twitter, this is sparking a bit of controversy - @GardenNicola said:
"You do not #buildcommunity by referring to troubled families as the 'new game in town' and appealing to greed of housing providers"
Inside Housing staff post
15/02/2012 11:24 am
She followed up, by the way, by saying that efforts to #buildcommunity should come from local people, I guess by implication not be led by housing providers...
15/02/2012 1:23 pm
Is this another example of people at the top - earning fat salaries - telling people on the breadline at the bottom that they should 'volunteer' their services (ie, work for nothing) to better their own communities because people at the top are never they themselves going to give up their fat salary jobs and volunteer to do anything for nothing to build any community?... they must be crazy if anyone is so fool to volunteer just to please the top people.
15/02/2012 4:18 pm
Take away the sense of real injustice the young feel today, even with a first class education they can't get a job and the blame for the theft and wholesale greed and corruption of the 1% who own 99% of the worlds wealth is being paid back by those who are innocent of the foul misdemeanours of corporate PIGS in our world...no amount of white-wash will change this statement
Inside Housing staff post
15/02/2012 5:06 pm
Peter - well, yeah, something small like a housing association setting up a family intervention project isn't going to change any of the underlying structures of our culture. But isn't that a bit fatalistic?!
You have to start somewhere, and if it helps some people, that's something?
From Twitter, again, East Thames suggested their Foyers project to support at risk young people helps #buildcommunity
15/02/2012 5:22 pm
The Foyer idea is excellent, and East Thames are a great example of how they can be well used.
What is concerning though is that similarly vulnerable people in our communities are now facing service reductions, income reductions, rent and living cost increases and are now having to suffer the massive stigmatism placed upon them from the political rehetoric of Ministers and the Media.
The Foyers need to be seen as the way forward, with the theory and practice being applied across the community. Instead, social, welfare, legal, and educational support are being removed from those who need them most.
Whilst Peter's view is fatalistic it does flash a warning of where we will end up if we just protect our own little silo's, hoping the axe does not fall in our direction, whilst watching our neighbours life be cut to ribbons. We know the Foyer delivers value for money, and over a lifetime is not only self funding but produces profit - but this needs to be understood for across the community in time to save services before they are Toried for ever.
15/02/2012 7:51 pm
I was born at the tail-end of the depression in 1937 in London and having lived through the second world war and the austerity years that followed, I can reflect on what a true community means to those who had lost everything, except the clothes they were dressed in.People in my days pulled together as one, we shared everything and gave everything we could to those who had nothing,but this sense of "oneness" of those days could never be repeated in today's society it pains me to say.Materialist envy must be overcome before you can build the foundations of a stronger community, a sense of equal worth must be fostered within peer groups.There again this could all be "pie in the sky" if this government contiues to pillage and plunder the poorest in society...
15/02/2012 9:32 pm
You could lower the rent so we aren't forced onto housing benefit. You could include allotments in developments. You could let us use communal gardens for communal planting. Perhaps start off 'social industry' by including low rent shop units or workshops in developments for the young (and old) unemployed without income or assets to start working for themselves.
We young people lack land. And it ain't lie we can emigrate to america and homestead. And we need land to live upon and work upon.
People say social housing is cheap, but you can work full time and still you require houing benefit cos the rent is so god damn high. Chuck in travel costs and there is little point in a man taking up productive work.
For he does not better himself, he merely transfers the rent obligation from housing benefit unto himself.
If a man works full time on min wage, he should be able to raise a family. I'm talking 3 bed semi, housewife and 2.4 children. Currently he would struggle to run a HA flat. And we can't all get jobs in the housing sector with generous pay allowed due to the setting of high rents for its tenants.
16/02/2012 10:15 am
What about the state not forcing or inciting people with adverts to report their neighbours to the police, the council, to the DWP for all kinds of transgressions?... How can one built any community with everyone spying and reporting on everybody else?... The police, the council the DWP must use their own means for investigations and not use neighbours on neighbours as their easy way to do their jobs... You can forget about communities - there are whole estates where 70% of the residennts main occupations is reporting neighbours and keed diaries about them - and that's for their entire lives!
16/02/2012 10:45 am
"What about the state not forcing or inciting people with adverts to report their neighbours to the police, the council, to the DWP for all kinds of transgressions?... How can one built any community with everyone spying and reporting on everybody else?... The police, the council the DWP must use their own means for investigations and not use neighbours on neighbours as their easy way to do their jobs... You can forget about communities - there are whole estates where 70% of the residennts main occupations is reporting neighbours and keed diaries about them - and that's for their entire lives!"
This was from anonymous just now...these are the words of youth protest and concern...there is a complete lack of trust in this Orwellian 1984 society...his/her views echo the views of a great number of the adult population also and having lived in times of right wing oppression 1939/1945 I can understand the feelings that abound with the younger generation in Britain...Building stonger communities is going to be a hard slog when Big Brother is breathing down your neck...
16/02/2012 2:16 pm
I work with homeless young people and trying to get them involved with ANYTHING is a nightmare. Thery are SO angry at the world, angry that they have to fight the benefits system, angry that there are no jobs and angry about the rules. Drill down a little though and you find that they are angry at their own failure and powerlessness. They don't know what they want to do becuase they don't get to learn and try new things.
Most are reliant on benefit, they find the rules and complexity fraustrating. Many are barely literate. In days gone by, they would be able to trot off down to the local factory and find meaningful work, and if it didn't suit them they could go try a different factory or different work. But instead they get letters they don't understand and get angry that they don't understand. You talk to them about how other countries don't have benefits at all and they don't get it...they think that's crap too. They think politicians lie and there is no point voting.
They feel entitled but unequal, they feel the UK offers them nothing. They see young girls go out and get pregnant and get a nice little flat.
I'm not sure family intervention will help when families have no hope and when benefit gets cut off, leaving families who are ill equipped to deal with the challenges that face them, with a choice between chucking out their teenagers or not having enough money to look after them.
I don't know the answer, but I know that it starts with meaningful jobs that net more income than can be had on benefit. Jobs with progression, jobs that don't mean having great grades or being academically good, the kind of jobs that a young person can go into and work hard to progress. It's about housing too, housing that people can afford, even on a low wage.
It begins with self respect, people who respect themselves respect their communities. Our communities need to get respect, they need to feel valued, need not to be treated as scroungers who must do what the benefits office say or cut their lifeline cut off.
16/02/2012 3:38 pm
Its interesting to read these posts about how angry the young people are because they are not GIVEN anything. Would these be teh same ones hanging round my local shopping centre despite the worlds largest airport and major employer being up the road? The same young people not applying for jobs that are filled by foreign nationals? The same young people who will not work at school and end up "barely literate"? Rather than expecting everything on a plate - and we do seem to have that culture in the UK - where is the evidence of young people pulling themselves up by the boot straps and making a go of it
This discussion should be about community, can people really not do anything themselves, even look after their own buildings and environments? From what I have seen in my work in housing, many can't or won't...
16/02/2012 4:29 pm
Unfortunately, we have entire generations who are brought up on the 'entitled' attitude....even the government portal for claiming benefits is called 'entitledto'.....but until the government gets off its backside, makes jobs, amd more to the point makes people do these jobs then people will have no reason to change their attitude! There are many, many people who would disagree with me here on this site, but I really do belive that entitlement should be accrued, and unless one is a pensioner or has worked and contributed for 10 or 15 years then I don't think people should be entitled to anything at all!
I regularly interview young people who are sofa surfing becuase mums entitlement to child benefit has stopped.
Unfortunately, there are some groups who in society are easily attacked..the young, single parents and the unemployed being the most common.....but others who are untouchable....but whose montly benefits are equivalent to twice or even thrice the money recived by a young person! How is it fair that at 64, an unemployed persons applicable amount is £67 per week, but at 65 it's pretty much double!?
Why does the government finance college NVQ qualifications for young people that at level 1, are equivalent to a GCSE at D-G grade!? The young person goes to college thinking that will get them a job!
Some real joined up thinking is required. Jobs before cuts and more affordable homes on a postwar scale. A carrot is better than a stick and it needs to be a sweet, juicy and reachable one!
16/02/2012 4:39 pm
Tricky...your uncaring attitude that derides all that has been said on this thread thus far is as useful as a fart in a space suite!!...this article is about building stronger communities and you lumping and classifying our young folk as "barely literate" sours the conversation.Your attitude towards the young is indicative of all that's wrong in our society...you will find bad apples in all levels of society..including the level you move in..
16/02/2012 4:49 pm
Peter, thank you for your kind attack on me and claiming that I lumped all young people as "barely literate". next time you wish to respond in such a fashion might I suggest that you notice when people use quotation marks which might just indicate that they are referring to someone else's post. if you scroll up and read the post from Anonymous at 2:16 you will see that s/he actually stated that of the YP they have dealt with
"Most are reliant on benefit, they find the rules and complexity fraustrating. Many are barely literate"
My attitude to young people? Would that include the 16 years of voluntary youth work that I undertook?
Will you deny anything that I said as true? Have I made it all up?
16/02/2012 4:57 pm
It was I that used the term barely literate....speaking not of ALL young people but of the disenfranchised young people that I work with in a supported housing environment. They do not all have literacy problems, some do, some simply have life experiences that result in them being unable to complete their education, or lack of support to enable to maximise their education.
16/02/2012 5:16 pm
I see no hope of building stronger communities with statements like this: "but I really do believe that entitlement should be accrued, and unless one is a pensioner or has worked and contributed for 10 or 15 years then I don't think people should be entitled to anything at all!"
How on earth did you people get a job working with the young unemployed?...all you instill in them is a sense of complete hopelessness and despondency...Stop being negative and give some positive input..cos going round in circles means you will disappear up your own backsides..
16/02/2012 5:40 pm
You must excuse this grumpy old git of 75 who in his twilight years has seen his life cycle turn full circle..born in a depression and it looks like I will die in one.There is good in everyone, even these kids if you look hard enough my friends, please don't cast them into the waste bin of human detritus..turn some of your energy into fighting those who are pulling the rug from under your feet..protest..like I have done all of my life...write on Face book and Twitter..like I have done over the years and if your good at writing, then write like I do as a radical poet and writer on the pages of the Guardian and Independent blog sites...just type this onto Google and you will find me..The Poems of Radical Peter