A Table of Contents:
The Grove Neighbourhood Centre in Hammersmith, London: Successful Achievement of Forgotten Urban Community Development in the 1970s
5-3-2 An Outline of the Grove Neighbour Centre
5-3-3 Community Centre in Urban Spaces- Do They Lack A Local Communities?
5-3-4 An Experiment of Community Development in Urban Cities in the 1970s
5-3-5 Success of Forgotten Development Project
After the mid-1970s, Matsui (2002, pp.275-6) explains that there has been no increase of the Neighbourhood Councils:
gDistricts were not enthusiastic to organise Neighbourhood Councils; they have never legalised and scale, financial resources, structure, and aims were too diverse.h Moreover: gIn 1997, the Local Government Act and the Local Government Finance Act made easier to establish a Parish in urban areas. However, this change in the Act gave rise to questions about the meaning of the Neighbourhood Council.h Matsui continues nevertheless: gAn aim of the Neighbourhood Council is to represent opinions of residents, and create a sense of identity and mutual support in local communities, and so forth. It possesses the same significance as the local councils. Considering recent trend of the Blair administration that regards local communities and direct democracy as important, the idea of gneighbourhoodh must attract a great deal of attention in the future.h
It is natural the character of each Neighbourhood Centre varies in its respective region because each Centre represents the respective opinions of its residents. In the 1980s and 90s, the Grove Neighbourhood Centre has developed; the current location was found, a new building was built, and then expanded. On the other hand, the Centre discontinued the Summer Carnival in which many residents participated in the 70s and 80s. The community newspaper gNeighbours, W6h distributed to all households in the Ward stopped being published in the mid-90s. Due to the shortage of candidates, the Grove Neighbourhood Council has not achieved its quota for years, therefore elections have not been necessary. Today, the management and supervision of the Centre has become a central function of the Council, and the role of speaking for residents and representing areas in negotiations with local government has been diminishing. I will clarify changes in the Council for the last thirty years and new directions of the Centre in my future research.
Moreover, the Grove Ward used to be a typical poverty area and it has been completely changed due to an influx of middle class people. As Mason described in the interview, a sense of identity was born during the heated event of organising the Council involving all residents. However, there is a need to keep both old and new residents interested in their community to preserve a sense of identity and create community spirit. How has the centre developed the residentsf sense of community?
My impression from experience as a resident and a user is that the centre has three aspects to link local residents. Firstly, the centre is a place to link individual networks, through various events and workshops for residents to communicate without particular boundaries. Secondly, residents, who are interested in healing and counselling, use the centre to create a different relationship from the one with family or particular groups. Therefore the centre becomes a space for people to face their inner problems. Thirdly, through the activities of the Grove Good-Neighbour Project, the centre is a base for clients and volunteers and it creates a relationship among individuals who have never met before.
Today, the relationships that originated from the centre are different from those thirty years ago such as social relationships in particular geographical boundaries or communities. The nature of social relationships has changed from when the Hammersmith Community Development Project tried to create a sense of identity or meaning by including terms like gcommunity spirith and glocal communityh in the revised Neighbourhood Constitution. I will look into this point in terms of my relationship with the centre.
In the urban space where residents frequently change, it is interesting to research possibilities of relationship among residents without depending on geographical identity or belonging to a particular group. Therefore, it is important to research the Grove Neighbourhood Centre and its surrounding areas in terms of expanding local community in urban areas such as London and other cities in Japan or elsewhere.
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Mugiko Nishikawa 5Fieldwork: