Build Up Hackney
In 2019 a team of local young people designed and built a prominent public space at Flanders Way, Hackney. The project, known as Build Up Hackney, aimed to give young people a genuine say over how their local area is changing.
Located on a formally unloved and litter-covered thoroughfare, Flanders Way public space is now a well-used community space featuring a circular seating area with integrated swings, new lighting, brightly coloured bins and an exciting playful border with integrated cast iron artwork.
The scheme was designed by 26 young people through a series of workshops involving local designers and architects, which culminated with presentations of their ideas to members of Hackney Council and the local community. The young people then spent two months over summer building the scheme.
Build Up Hackney was run in collaboration with youth organisation Hackney Quest, and two local residents were employed throughout as part of Build Up’s paid placement programme. Over 100 volunteers contributed to the project.
“I have grown up in Hackney all my life and seen all of the change it’s gone through – for the first time I was able to actively take part in it”. Shenique Bass, aged 22
The project was set up in response to Hackney Quest’s 2018 report Hackney Wick, Through Young Eyes, that found a large number of local young people do not feel that they are informed about, involved in, or benefiting from the way their area is changing. Build Up aimed to address this problem by giving young people power over an important space in their community.
Build Up Hackney came about after 300 local people donated to a crowdfund campaign and won the support of The Mayor of London. Materials and equipment were generously supplied by the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants, Lawsons Timber, Building & Fencing Supplies, Makita Power Tools, C&S Builders Merchants, Real Deals for You, Engie and Span Group. The consistent support of Wick Award, the Mayor of Hackney and the London Borough of Hackney made the project possible.
In 2018 and 2021, Build Up worked with 88 young people to design and build ‘The Shade’; an intergenerational community space with a stage, BBQ, games, seating and planting in Waltham Forest’s Aldriche Estate.
In 2018, local young people led discussions about how they could improve their estate and analysed the area with local residents. They developed a design and phase one was built that year and phase 2 was completed in 2021 in response to community feedback. Three young people were paid to deliver the project as part of Build Up’s paid placement programme.
The project was generously supported by the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants, Lawsons Timber, Building & Fencing Supplies and Makita Power Tools.
BBC London filmed phase one of the project. Watch it here.
Working in collaboration with HTA Design, Newman Francis and Haringey Play Association, Build Up constructed ‘The Whaler’ at Somerford Grove Adventure Playground in summer 2016.
The building, which began life as an eco classroom in Muswell Hill, was transformed into a new climbing structure, shelter and performance space by 31 young people and 24 volunteers. The Whaler was a pilot for Beyond Boundaries, a social mobility initiative working in regeneration areas founded by HTA Design and Newman Francis.
The project was generously supported by the London Borough of Haringey, HTA Design, Morgan Sindall Group, Circle Housing, Affinity Sutton, Polyteck, Higgins and Zonderop Woodgate.
“If you don’t want ghettos, basically we need organisations in partnership, here we have architects, those that understand building and risk; Build Up, the volunteers and the staff at Haringey Play Association in partnership; that’s the innovation” – David Lammy MP
Lollard St Bike Hub
In 2019, Build Up began its biggest project to date at Lollard St Adventure Playground: the Lollard St Bike Hub. The building provides a much needed home for the playground’s existing bike project, which refurbishes bikes and offers free repairs and mechanic training to local young people.
In total over 100 young people took part in the project after school and in the school holidays. The construction programme was designed to engage young people over a long period of time with sessions taking place over 8 months.
Parts of the build needed a high degree of accuracy and the programme allowed young people to test and improve their building skills over a number of sessions. Construction activities included structural carpentry, GRP roofing, building workbenches and storage racks.
“Because I’ve done the building I’m more comfortable to talk about and explain it – because now I know the names of the tools and what they do.” – Rachelle, 10.
We would like to say a big thank you to the generous support of Southern Sheeting Supplies Ltd and Filon Products Limited, alongside our funders Comic Relief and Children in Need, for making this project possible.