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Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need

Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need: a report to Hammersmith United Charities on four low income estates in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham by LSE Housing

Laura Lane and Anne Power, LSE Housing

June 2009

11. Our recommendations and conclusion

Of the various models we have outlined we believe that HUC can progress most by

  • continuing to be an active local charity engaged in grant-giving to local organisations but with the additional elements of
  • providing a community hub from which to operate locally and
  • building the foundations of small community-based social enterprises within the deprived areas it targets.

We believe the highest priority for action is support for young people who fall between family and adulthood, who face harsh challenges in the local environment, often have poor skills, and now face chronic job shortages. These problems create a sense of alienation and marginalisation that is de-motivating and has serious knock-on effects on all other sections of their local communities and society as a whole.
Creating and maintaining safe play areas and green spaces for children, young people and families is a core part of supporting young people. This would also help elderly people, creating a more peaceful, attractive local environment and providing space for the irrepressible energy that children have to release. Targeting these two social actions in low income estates would help the problem of security since it would divert young people into more positive directions and make it easier for families to maintain control over community conditions.


Overall the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has high social needs in poorer estates which require action:

  • Young people and families with children are particularly needy;
  • Council estates need more anchoring – community organisations can help in this by building social capital among residents through more support to local organisations, leading to stronger communities;
  • Local needs can only be identified if a skilled community worker is closely involved, making contact with needy groups, creating local support networks for community groups, and developing realisable plans;
  • An area base seems to be a basic requirement but the choice of location is unclear. It may be possible to join up with existing facilities and organisations on one of the bigger estates to create a community hub, from which the charity could operate, and provide community support that will build local community activities, enterprises, particularly focused on young people, families and open spaces.

There is already valuable work underway in the estates we have studied with efforts by various organisations – both statutory and voluntary – to support these local communities. HUC can work in partnership with these local bodies to develop its own special contribution.
Our findings show that the resources, commitment and goodwill of the charity can add to these efforts in positive ways that fill important gaps in:

  • Security
  • Youth provision
  • Play space for children and young people
  • Family support

Therefore we propose a combined effort by the charity to create a local community hub from which to run the charity and to support other community activities and groups.

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