Further information about Winstanley and York Road

Community voices

The following people have provided their views on the Winstanley and York Road Estates regeneration project.

Dorothy Hillier, former York Road Estate resident

I have lived in Chesterton House for the last 49 years; my building was virtually brand new when I moved in! Initially, I had reservations about considering sheltered housing, this wasn't helped by the false stereotyped view of not having privacy, where staff would be able to come and go as they please. However, my view completely changed when I was offered a viewing for a scheme located in Battersea.

A member of the regeneration team came along with me to the viewing, on arrival we were greeted by the warden who showed us around a 1 bedroom flat. It was beautiful, I absolutely fell in love with the place and the area was perfect. The warden answered all my questions that I'd prepared and the regeneration team reassured me of the support they could provide to help me move. Previously I was on the 10th floor and fully dependant on the lifts in Chesterton House; this was challenging at times and really limited my ability to get out if the lifts were ever out of use. Now that I'm on the ground floor, this is no longer an issue and has left me feeling much more secure. I was also pleasantly surprised by how sociable and welcoming both the warden and other residents have been. My family are really pleased for me and often come to visit following the move; it's very convenient as I'm close to the doctors and local shops. My warden checks in on me at the start of each week and has offered a lot of support so far, she's been ever so helpful with keeping me inform on local activities I could get involved in.

I would honestly recommend sheltered housing to anyone who is considering it. The process of moving was a daunting prospect but any concerns I had were quickly addressed by the regeneration team. I found it very easy to get in contact with them via the telephone and in some instances they were kind enough to visit me in my home. I felt much comfort going through the removals process as I was given all the help I needed. I definitely couldn't have undertaken the move without all the support I was given. The York Road Estate was my home for a very long time and I really hope the regeneration brings a lot of positive changes to the estate.

Andrea Marc, Centre Manager at York Gardens Library and Community Centre

I've been working at York Gardens Library for just over six years. I am responsible for the smooth running of the Library and Community Centre, ensuring that there are sufficient and up-to-date children's & adult stock, that the building is welcoming and well-maintained and that we provide the very best service to the local community. I work with primary schools within the vicinity of the library to encourage them to visit and use the various services on offer. I also work with local community groups such as the children's centre, nurseries and the Katherine Low Settlement to support them to deliver their services and to encourage them to use the library's facilities.

York Gardens Library and Community Centre is a warm, friendly and welcoming place to visit. It offers a great variety of services and activities for local people. We have a large children's library and a smaller collection of books for adults. We offer free public access to computers and Wi-Fi, which allows customers to explore eBooks, music streaming and a wide range of online resources. We host baby rhyme time, story time, baby ballet, chess club and various craft activities for children, and work in collaboration with BookTrust to distribute baby packs and Treasure Chest learning materials to parents with children under 5-years. There is also a very vibrant bridge club and weaving group that uses the premises on a regular basis, and we support ESOL English language classes for adults.

The Library has 5 meeting rooms for hire with a capacity ranging from 5 to 150 people, which are used for a wide variety of events and activities. For more information, please call us on 020 7223 2341 or visit us at 34 Lavender Rd, London SW11 2UG.

Andrew Beech, York Road Estate resident and community figure

I was born and bred in Battersea, and have lived on the York Road estate for over 10 years with my wife and two children. My passion is to encourage other people into fitness. I run weekly kids' fitness classes in York Gardens library and karate and girls' weight lifting sessions in Battersea Sports Centre. I also work with Enable Leisure in schools and run Beat It health clubs to try to address obesity in children. Once a week I volunteer with my local church, St Peters, to teach kids rock climbing. It is important to me that children learn to build their confidence, integrate socially and keep healthy through sport.

I have been the Chair of the Pennethorne House Residents' Association for 5 years. My neighbours know that they can approach me about anything that concerns them or with ideas for improvements, and I will make sure that the issues are discussed in our RA meetings or raised with the right person in the Council. The regeneration is a common theme of our discussions, but the good thing about the regeneration is it proves that the Council does care about us. As an RA we try to support each other in the block, and I organised for the committee to pay for one resident to train as a Zumba instructor. I also mentored and trained her through the process, and am proud that she now offers Zumba classes in the Pennethorne House club room. The sessions take place at 9.30am on Tuesdays and 6.30pm on Wednesdays and cost £2 for non-Pennethorne House residents.

Earlier this year I was honoured to be presented with the Mayor's Housing Community Champion pin for my involvement in community activities on the York Road estate. The support and funding that I receive from this award will allow me to continue helping others to learn new skills in the year ahead. People say that there is nothing to do in our area, but there is. You just need to apply yourself, and I try to demonstrate that. I love our community; the fact that people get on and sit down and talk to each other. It is important that people can have their voice and that the spirit of the community is maintained, whilst making improvements to the area. The Regeneration Team have encouraged that - they have their office right in the hub of the community and put on so many events where people can come, give their views and get information about what's going on. Through the regeneration, people can start taking a bit more pride in their area and there will be many more opportunities for people who want to achieve better things with their lives. I hope that people will be positive about the changes; things can only get better and we should embrace that.

Andrew Griffin, York Road Estate resident 

I've lived on the York Road Estate since 1999. The communal areas are better than they were then, but largely it's the same as when I moved in.

I'm moving to a one-bedroom flat from a studio, so it should be a lot bigger. I'll be able to have guests visit so it's going to be so much better for me.

I've heard there are going to be many more leisure facilities too. I'm not so worried about me but there has to be something for the youngsters to do.

Mariana Paulo, former Winstanley Estate resident

I lived in a third floor maisonette on the Winstanley Estate for five and a half years with my two young children. There was no lift, which was a nightmare when I had lots of shopping and my little one was scared of heights. There were sometimes groups of teenagers hanging around my building, which was a little intimidating for me especially when it got darker.

The support from the Regeneration Project Team has been amazing. They discussed my options with me and offered me an early move to an area which is more familiar to me. We now live on the first floor in a new build property, and we have a lift! In this way, the regeneration has helped us a lot and my children love their new home.

I hope that the new plans for the estate provide community clubs or something to keep the young people active.

Robert Musgrave MBE, Director of youth and community work at Providence House

I first came to Battersea in 1973. I was fresh out of college and came to gain experience in youth work at Providence House. Forty three years later I am still here.

In those days the estates of York Road had only been open a few years, and now they are scheduled for redevelopment. The work of Providence House began in an old chapel pulled down in 1969 to make way for new housing; and now change has come full circle - it is all coming down again.

Change is never far away. People come and go. Housing and buildings change. There is one thing that does not change - the importance of community, and the importance of faith in the community. Providence House has witnessed all these changes as the generations have passed through, but we are still here - providing an essential service to the community.

We are open every day for young people or families, for educational or sporting groups, for opportunities to think and reflect. We are a stone's throw from the regeneration area, on Falcon Road. Come in and see what we do.

Richard Hangoway, former York Road Estate resident

I have lived in a one-bedroom flat on the York Road Estate for the past three years. The main reason I opted for an early move was to move away from the area, as I did not wish to be in such a central part of London. Although my new flat isn't as spacious as my former flat on the York Road Estate, it is still very reasonable and in a location that I am very happy with.

The early move process is good, you do need to be patient with waiting for offers but if you know which area you like, the allocations team will try their best to match your request. I was extremely grateful when my first offer was a one-bedroom flat in Wimbledon - this was my first choice area. On the day of my move, the regeneration project team organised for a removals company to assist me with transferring my belongings, I found this to be very supportive.

Don't be afraid to decline the first offer if it is not what you want. If your reason is valid you will get further opportunities and if you decide not to move early you will still have a place on the regeneration scheme for a new build property. Additionally, it would be very useful to put some financial savings to one side - just enough to set you up in the first few weeks of your move whilst you are waiting for the Home Loss compensation payment to come through. The regeneration team will support you with reimbursements of reasonable costs to get your flat to as it was before. These have to be agreed, but this is why the team did the pre-move check at my old flat.

Marlene Price BEM, York Road Estate resident and community figure

A resident of the York Road Estate for nearly 35 years, I have been actively involved in the Residents' Associations in York Road for almost all of this time. Two of my significant anniversaries this year are completing 30 years representing Battersea residents at the Borough Residents' Forum; and as their Vice Chair for the last 15 years.

I have chaired several working groups, including the re-writing of the Tenants and Lease Conditions and the Residents Participation Strategy. One of our greatest achievements was improving the way in which we consult with residents; this has changed to a position now where residents are actively shaping the way forward.

My greatest passion is to help others which has led me to hold positions on many community projects, some of which are: Trustee and Member of the Battersea Crime Prevention Panel; representing Housing at Wandsworth's Safer Neighbourhood Board; member of the Partnership Executive of Big Local SW11; Chair of the Latchmere Ward Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel, and Appropriate Adult representing Battersea residents coming into contact with the Police.

I feel honoured to have been recognised for my contribution to the Wandsworth community over the past 30 years. In 2013 I was awarded a Civic Award; but my proudest achievement was to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 Queen's Birthday honours. 

I feel that I have played a key role in discussions which led to proposals to refurbish the York Road Estate. This was the precursor to the Winstanley and York Road regeneration, as our refurbishment plans were put on hold in favour of wider regeneration. I fully understand the scepticism of residents as so much has been promised in the past and the negativity and poor treatment of residents in schemes run by other local authorities has been well publicised. Our regeneration is long overdue and the residents would like to see this started as soon as possible. I feel that priority should be placed on getting homes built first so that the community can be kept together.

Hermine Caesar, former York Road Estate resident

I lived in a two bedroom flat on the York Road Estate for nearly 40 years. I moved into Pennethorne House in August 1979 and, very fittingly, I moved into my new property in August of this year. I have seen many people come and go on this estate, including members of my own family, and having lived by myself in the two bedroom flat for the last six years I decided it was time to downsize to a one bedroom flat to make my life that little bit easier.

The Regeneration Team found me a lovely property in Battersea. I have to say the early moves process was amazing and the Regeneration Project Team was very helpful, considerate and understanding of my particular needs. The process was really quick, which I was very happy with, if somewhat surprised! In all honesty, I haven’t always had the best relationship with Wandsworth Council but this process - and the Regeneration Team in particular - have restored my faith in them. The removals process was especially easy. The team that carried out the move was fantastic and I cannot fault them. They removed all stress from something that can be particularly difficult, and they went above and beyond their usual responsibilities.

I love my new home; it is calm and quiet and has given me peace of mind. I was feeling very stressed and under pressure living in the two bedroom property in Pennethorne House and I feel that I am back to feeling myself; even my son has said that the dragon has gone and that he has his mother back! I am eternally grateful to the Regeneration Team for their support with this move and their continued help with decorations and the few teething issues I had with the new property. 

Christian Gordon, York Road Estate resident and young entrepreneur

I have lived on the York Road estate for almost my whole life, but my Grandma lived in the same block as us for 10 years before my family moved in next door. My Mum and her 10 siblings saw a grittier side to the estate when they were growing up here, so I think she has been a lot more protective of me. I grew up going to the local youth centres where I got to know other young people from the estate, and I particularly enjoyed playing table tennis and being part of the Providence House football team.

My real passion is music and I try to encourage and provide a platform for other young people who are interested in the same. I host concerts and open mic sessions in Providence House, giving new artists the opportunity to showcase their music. I also successfully applied for a £20,000 grant from the Evening Standard and used it to build a brand new studio in Providence House. I now run the studio, hiring it out to young people for a small fee and mixing and mastering the artists’ vocals.

I want young people to thrive more and to not put themselves down - we’ve seen this quite a bit on the estates recently. When young people rap about dark matters in the studio, I try to show them another side through happier music.

I also hope that attitudes in the estate will change after the regeneration, due to how it will look. I want people to walk around the new area and feel safer and more positive. The Regeneration Team gave me the opportunity to document the estate as it is now, and I chose to do this in the form of a picture book. This was so there will always be a copy of how the estate is before it changes. Through this project I was linked with a mentor who gave me guidance and I found him really inspirational.

In the same way, I am trying to inspire and be a positive influence on my friends – I have helped some to take up video blogging, make recordings and take photographs. I was recently asked to speak about the work I have done and intend to do at a House of Commons event for young entrepreneurs sponsored by Jane Ellison on behalf of Battersea Arts Centre.

I was really happy to do this as BAC was where I started my business, when they gave me my first grant. I was also honoured to speak on the TV channel London Live about the voluntary work I do with the Jimmy Asher Foundation where I host a radio show and debate about relevant news stories from a young person’s point of view. The charity opened up many opportunities for me, and I hope that I can positively impact the lives of other young people in a similar way. 

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