Grenfell Matters

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S.P.I.D. are based in the historic Kensal House estate 10 minutes from Grenfell Tower. Our Grenfell Matters campaign fights to ensure the victims of the Grenfell fire are not forgotten and did not die in vain. We advocate against the destruction of social housing and fight for increased investment in estates and to improve the rights for those who live and work there. Our upcoming program includes:

Estate of Play – Restoring and celebrating the heritage of social housing
After 12 years based in Kensal House estate’s neglected community rooms, we have secured a 25 year low rent lease from Kensington council. This has allowed us to raise £1.4million to refurbish our own dilapidated, Grade II* listed estate space, thanks to funding from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund and Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities.

We plan to restore, refurbish and expand SPID’s base to make it both fit for modern use and an embodiment of the modernist vision shared by architects Maxwell Fry and social reformer Elizabeth Denby. A new visitors entrance will make the arrival point more inviting and easier to find.   SPID will create an enclosed sloping corridor offering separate access to the hall, back stage area and new workshop room for all visitors, including those with disabilities. The corridor will let in fresh light to the community rooms, as will replacing all non original windows with full length windows.  The kitchen space at the back will be opened out, as will the office, by removing non original partitions.  A drainage cavity will be installed between the community rooms’ ceiling and the floors of flats below to protect against future leaks.  The community rooms’ heating and electrics will be replaced and new equipment installed.

Open House – discover the modernist history Kensal House estate’s Grade II* listed community rooms
S.P.I.D.’s base in the Grade II* listed community rooms of the historic Kensal House estate will be open as part of the Open House London architectural festival on Saturday 22 (10am – 1pm) and Sunday 23 September (1pm-5pm).  Come explore and discover the heritage of this modernist gem, with architectural tours and talks.

The Burning Tower – take part in an interactive dramatization of Grenfell and social housings’ history, The Burning Tower 

will visit  Birmingham’s Druids Heath estate, Tyneside’s Meadow Well estate and Nottingham’s Clifton Estate in association  with Birmingham Rep, Northern Stage and  Theatre Royal Nottingham respectively,  before returning to Kensal House estate for a production in association with Bush Theatre Sept 18 – Oct 13.

The play is inspired by interviews with those local residents following research carried out as part of S.P.I.D.’s Living History youth project, Kensington Stories. Local celebrities will speak at the press night 4.30pm Wed Sept 19. Tickets for the London run can be bought here: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/the-burning-tower/


Rationale:

S.P.I.D. Theatre creates high quality community theatre on council estates. Since 2005, they have championed the voices of social housing. Our work dramatising West London estates’ heritage has featured on BBC, ITV, London Live and in National Press: http://spidtheatre.com/video-and-audio/. Grenfell Matters to us because:

  • As an award-winning charity with 12 years’ experience reinventing community theatre for North Kensington council estate audiences, Grenfell is close to S.P.I.D.’s heart.
  • We believe the Grenfell Tower tragedy underlines the need to change how social housing is valued and maintained, as residents’ fire concerns date back to 2013.
  • Being based in W10’s Kensal House estate, the charity share a landlord with Grenfell and have long asked to improve the safety of the borough’s council estates.
  • SPID wants the council to learn from Grenfell by relinquishing its control of social housing and return it to the residents and charities who truly cherish it because they live and work there.
  • SPID is concerned about the long-term housing of Grenfell survivors. The  trend is to sell the earmarked space for profit instead, as showcased by our latest documentary about the fate of Trellick Tower’s communal graffiti area
  • SPID is determined to ensure that the borough replace and improve the social housing the fire destroyed.
  • SPID believe the statutory limit for permanently rehousing those made homeless by the fire must be lowered
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