The government’s Champion for Active Safer Communities joined local residents in Havering, North East London to celebrate the opening of a new ‘Community Shop’ set-up to give local people a greater role in solving local problems.
Managed by volunteers from the Briar Residents Action Group (BRAG) and housed in former commercial premises, the Briar Road Information Shop aims to encourage a stronger relationship between the estate’s 1,200 residents, Havering Council and other local agencies such as the police, by acting as a single point of contact providing services and advice.
Following a government grant, the group - working closely with the council and Homes in Havering - are taking action on a series of neighbourhood concerns from tackling burglary to recycling and have also held a number of community events. They are also engaged with the council on the redevelopment plans for Bosworth Field to create a new community area for all age groups that will include new sports pitches, new tree planting, and new seating areas.
Baroness Newlove said:
“This was my third visit to Briar Road to hear from local people making a real difference to their neighbourhood. It’s so inspiring to meet community-minded residents who in their own time are doing everything they can to make their neighbourhoods safer and happier places to live and work.
“I was honoured to be asked to open the information shop. I know that Briar Road residents, the council and Homes in Havering have all put a tremendous amount of time and effort in getting it up and running, giving people the knowledge and confidence to get involved for the benefit of the whole community.”
The Briar Road Estate is 1 of 7 neighbourhoods across the country Baroness Newlove has been working closely with this year, to find out what works and what the barriers are to successful community activism.