Future of London Field Trip
Earlier this month, on a crisp autumn morning we had the pleasure of hosting a ‘field trip’ for the Future of London's Unlocking Social Value Programme. This practice-based research project is exploring how social value is delivered through regeneration and development schemes and the role of cross-sector partnerships in maximising impact.
Delegates from the built environment sector across the capital visited different sites in the Royal Docks hearing from our partners. Starting at Lendlease’s construction site at Silvertown, we heard from both Lendlease and West Silvertown Foundation. We then headed across the water to Custom House Bookshop and ExCeL London. Presentations focussed on evaluations of social value to date and ambitions for the future.
The event provided a unique opportunity for cross-sector dialogue. Themes that came up during discussions included: what does it mean ‘to do’ regeneration well; the importance of joined up thinking between various social value initiatives; and what mechanisms can be put in place now for a sustainable legacy.
A key takeaway was how valuable it is for organisations of varying scales and backgrounds to share their experience, from ExCeL, one of Europe’s largest exhibition and convention centres to West Silvertown Foundation, a long-standing resident-led community organisation. Whilst perspectives on the theme are different, there are ways to play to each organisation’s strengths, and agreement on putting short and medium-term plans in place to enable benefits to continue after regeneration projects are completed.
Sarah Atkinson, Community & Stakeholder Relations Manager, explained the role of the Royal Docks Team to leverage a social value legacy grounded in the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Strategy and LB Newham’s Community Wealth Building Strategy.
“In the Royal Docks we have aspirations around ‘place stewardship’. This means working to support different stakeholders to collaborate around a joint ambition to make social impact an outcome of the area’s transformation. For our team this means convening stakeholders, facilitating conversations and sharing knowledge to ensure local people and community benefit, is maximised”.
Lendlease, a key partner responsible for the flagship redevelopment of Silvertown, is an accredited London Living Wage employer and member of the Royal Docks Living Wage Action Group. Zenab Mumtaz, Socio-Economic Development Manager, outlined Lendlease’s commitment to their legacy goal, which includes 50% affordable housing at Silvertown, offering training opportunities for local residents to facilitate pathways into well paid jobs on the completed project and aiming for 40% of all jobs generated from Silvertown’s regeneration to go to Newham residents.
In the Royal Docks we have aspirations around ‘place stewardship’. This means working to support different stakeholders to collaborate around a joint ambition to make social impact an outcome of the area’s transformation.
Sarah Atkinson, Community & Stakeholder Relations Manager, Royal Docks Team
While Helen Fernandes, CEO of West Silvertown Foundation, told a compelling story of the organisation’s evolution from resident-led summer activities for young people, which effectively reduced crime rates and supported social integration in a new development, to its role in the area’s transformation by temporarily hosting a local school and doctor’s surgery, alongside the ongoing operation of its community centres.
“When it comes to being a good ancestor, we’ve seen the reality in our story. Creating a social value legacy means thinking about what you can do now to create something other people might want to, and be able to, build upon at a later point”.
Claire Sellick, Marketing Manager at ExCeL London, also a London Living Wage employer, explained that as an international exhibition and convention centre, they work with both event organisers and their event ecosystems. In this context, ExCeL recognises organisers’ potential to influence and aims to facilitate partnerships that enable them to actively contribute to the local community by sharing skills, expertise and resources.
Recent achievements include an interactive session on robotics and automation and one about liver health, both as a result of congresses held at the venue. The objective was to spark students’ interest in careers within the field and explore in the case of the hepatology congress, the importance of a healthy lifestyle. ExCeL is developing a Legacy Toolkit, in collaboration with local partners, to encourage their clients to engage with the local community, to use their platform for positive change and to support their event legacy.
Lastly, we heard from Terry Regan and Twinkle Jayakumar, two local residents and Citizen Scientists, who shared their experiences of regeneration in Custom House and of undertaking research in their communities. They emphasised the importance of equipping residents with skills that boost social mobility and engaging residents in the conversation from the outset.
Sponsored by the Royal Docks Team and Lendlease as part of UCL’s Prosperity in East London study, Terry and Twinkle were trained by UCL’s Citizen Science Academy which offers high-quality, practice-based education and training programmes to equip people with research knowledge and practical skills to get involved in social action and decision-making.
Click here to read the Zines that were produced as part of UCL’s Prosperity in East London study.
Visit the Future of London website to find out more about Phase 2 of the Social Value Programme.
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Creating social value at the Royal Docks in Newham
The Royal Docks is the Mayor of London’s largest land-led project and the regeneration team is focused on “place stewardship”. Future of London visited to find out what it means to create a social value legacy.