“Footwork are one of a rare breed of philanthropist who are committed to the people who have the energy and ideas to tackle place-based injustices for themselves."
Kerri Hall, My Place Director
My Place is an innovative programme which empowers young people to act as advocates for their communities, enabling local people to play a proper role in how their neighbourhoods change and develop.
My Place is investing in young people to lead this change; with direct experience of local issues, they are uniquely placed to access the opinions of their communities, including those who are considered ‘hard to reach.’ The programme facilitates these young advocates to work alongside local decision-makers, providing a platform through which local people can contribute on a continuing basis.
My Place is running a pilot project based in Finsbury Park, in partnership with London Development Trust, whereby a cohort of young people aged 13-18 will be employed and trained to co-design and carry out research within their local communities. The data they collect - reflecting the diverse experience and opinions of the people of Finsbury Park - will be used to shape and inform the Finsbury Park & Stroud Green Neighbourhood Plan.
What did we fund?
My Place is a project initiated and funded by Footwork.
What value did we see in this project?
Footwork sees My Place as an essential new tool in ensuring social equity and helping places to thrive. Regeneration often fails to value the experience of local people, who often feel excluded from the process. Local authorities and developers are themselves at a loss to address the breakdown in communication and trust that hampers many development projects and risks damaging or displacing successful communities. By revealing the value of local experience and opinions, My Place has the potential to build bridges and embed a culture of mutual respect in any community.
“They should have taken into consideration the people that already lived here because they built this community. They knocked it down and there’s no community now.”
This comment by a young resident of Woodberry Down estate in Hackney, one of Europe’s largest regeneration sites, comes from ‘Regeneration Divide’, a short film Footwork funded and produced in 2019 in which a group of young friends guide us round the partly redeveloped estate where they have grown up. This articulate and heart-felt account - in which they talk about the destructive impact on the existing community, the creation of new social divisions and why they now feel alien in their own area - was the inspiration and catalyst for My Place.
What impact has our support had?
Having been incubated by Footwork, My Place has since recruited an external team to develop and run this innovative project, including recruiting a young person we worked with on the ‘Regeneration Divide’ film as the project’s Junior Coordinator. With our ongoing support, the Finsbury Park Pilot will be completed and the My Place methodology evaluated in full.