London’s area of Thamesmead, once developed with the intention of attracting middle-class families, is now one of the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods in England. The built environment with its terraced houses, aerial walkways and many canals impedes connectivity within the community and limits residents’ mobility.
Thamesmead is currently undergoing a £200 million regeneration programme led by Peabody which will create 20,000 new homes and connect Abbey Wood station to the Crossrail line. It will also expand the scope of local community projects. Developments tailored to the residents’ needs offer an opportunity to improve livelihoods in Thamesmead and in particular outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Young Foundation was hence commissioned by Peabody and the Royal Borough of Greenwich to conduct research into the lived experiences of families in Thamesmead.
Whilst the goal of the research project is to understand participants’ life holistically, there is a particular focus on education and how the transition from primary to secondary school is perceived by both children and guardians and the challenges the transition poses on families.
Keeping with the spirit of the Young Foundation’s origins, the ethnography takes place within the families’ social and cultural settings, thereby enabling us to understand life in Thamesmead from the families’ perspective.
The final report is expected to be published by the end of August 2019.