Published 10th October 2017

Organisation is the key

It was 17 years ago that Marsh Farm people first set out our vision for a better Marsh Farm in a document called ‘The Phoenix Rises’. This was first draft of what became a 10 year plan put together by a coalition of 33 estate-based community groups and partners, as part of our bid for public funding to turn the resident’s visions into reality.

Now, in 2017, thanks in large part to the vision, dedication, organising and hard work put in by hundreds of Marsh Farm residents over the years (not to forget a big shout for Tom Shaw’s housing team at Luton Borough Council) there have been big improvements made to our estate. Our shopping centre now looks a lot more clean and inviting than it did before and the chips are nice!

Not only have our public spaces been physically transformed, we’re also proud of the fact that all of the 120 + homes being built on the site of the old Purley Centre and Purway Close are genuinely affordable council houses, not the more expensive private rent or housing association homes.

Just as importantly, the level of local labour used by Keepmoat (the developers) during the build was much higher than usual at more than 50%. This was monitored all throughout the build by a working group made up of local residents, shopkeepers councillors and community representatives.

Directly opposite the new shops is ‘Marsh Farm Futures House‘ (above)  one of the UK’s biggest genuinely community owned resource centres, referred to in our 10 year plan as “the Jewel in Marsh Farm’s Crown”.

Unlocking the massive community mobilisation and organisational potential of Futures House was and is at the heart of the residents plan to transform the social and economic fabric of our community.

Futures House was also vital to our plans to boost our local economy by making high quality space available for new job creating enterprises as well as space for rent to localised public services.

This part of the plan has gone really well. The building is full up, completely self funding and makes around £100,000 a year profit, making a valuable contribution to our local economy.

To read the inspiring full article from Marsh Farm, please follow this link.