Rewilding—a term we’ve hijacked to describe a vision for our neighbourhood: intentionally setting an area aside to enable the local community to thrive.
Encouraging • Facilitating • Inspiring
Becontree has a rich history. 100 years ago, it was declared the world’s largest council estate. It was built to improve the health and wellbeing of the heroes returning from the Great War.
One of the first residents described it as being “immediately filled with hope of a new world”.
The new estate invited people to dream. But, in the years that followed, a paternalistic culture, lack of investment, and declining opportunities for locals left people feeling disempowered.
LifeLine has worked alongside the people in Barking and Dagenham for over 40 years. We have learned to be intentional and set an atmosphere which inspires people to hope, provokes people to be solution-focused, and supports them to take responsibility. It has been amazing to see what people can give when there’s space, support, and opportunity.
The heroes behind the doors of the Becontree estate are still there. Ordinary people who have a passion to see our community improve. Here are three examples we’ve had the privilege of being involved with:
LifeLine had been looking for a building for several years. In 2015 the Andrews family, owners of several buildings located around the Andrews Corner crossroads, approached LifeLine Church to see if we were interested in purchasing their properties. Hearing our vision, the family looked at each other:
LifeLine agreed to purchase all of the Andrews family’s properties on the corner and, together with them, we say: