Living History! Support free youth activities that share social housings' heritage
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Kensal House resident Elizabeth stands here in solidarity beside Ladbroke Grove wheelchair user Ella. She gestures down the estate’s steep stairs, revealing what a challenge it is for Ella to reach the bottom. Elizabeth is a member of community charity SPID, who run free activities in Kensal House’s basement Community Rooms, while Ella attends the estate’s disability charity Full of Life. Thanks to residents’ short film and local support, SPID now has permission for £2.4m publicly funded safety works for the building and a commitment from the council to fix part leaks estate wide at the same time. SPID hopes to expand their free program of youth, community, drama and heritage activities at the same time.
The refurbishment and activity scale up will benefit local residents and the Grade II* listed Kensal House by restoring the 1930s Community Rooms and providing access for all, disabled or otherwise. A new lift and sloping corridor will save wheelchair users from having to go through the car park or round the back of the estate. New cameras, gates and fencing will maximise security for the estate. A new bin store entrance further from flats will improve hygiene and privacy. There will be no extension into the residents’ garden, whose greenery will be increased to become larger. Ancient electrics will be replaced and heritage features reinstated. Backstage will be equipped for new activities, including free drama, heritage, sports, filmmaking, homework clubs, paid work placements, new jobs, and free business mentoring. A drainage cavity will remedy the Community Rooms’ leaks.
SPID have campaigned for fifteen years to restore and make safe our dilapidated building. It was only after the nearby Grenfell Tower fire that they were heard. When delays and disagreements set in, SPID appointed a Kensal resident as chair and another to chair the Refurbishment Project Board. During Lockdown, residents came together in spirit to save the shared space. The plans offer hope at a time when youth provision, inclusive access facilities and community work is threatened by the recession.
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