Gathering place for artists
Barking and Dagenham has been chosen to provide housing and work opportunities for artists who have been displaced by rapidly rising rents in other areas of London. A centre with studios has already been built at the old harbour in Barking, and a new building is now being constructed in the centre of town, Linton road, at a cost of around £3.5 million, with studios, exhibition spaces and flats for a further twelve artists.
The design is by Grayson Perry, who became famous among other things when he won the Turner Prize. He came up with a very special memorial for the new “artist’s house”, which has now been unveiled. On a base plate measuring two by two metres, there are replicas of the small terraced houses that were typical of the townscape for decades, especially in Dagenham.
The small “settlement” is laid out as a lantern, lit from the inside. In the process, Perry has captured a lot of everyday life, from the washing hung outside to his father’s first car, a Ford Anglia.
From the Colin Pond Foundation, Barking and Dagenham has taken the money to pay out £300 each to 64 top students from 13 schools after middle school graduation. The condition is that they continue their education in the town. There is competition between the Boroughs for the best pupils because the allocation of money depends on their performance in the exams.
The luckiest Borough: News about problems and social tensions in East London can be found every day. And then this: The Office for National Statistics has recorded personal well-being scores for residents in all of London’s Boroughs. Barking and Dagenham, often maligned as unpopular, is by no means at the bottom of the league, but has the highest happiness rate. Over 77 percent of residents expressed satisfaction.
Growth measure: Barking and Dagenham is growing rapidly, we have reported this several times. Saima Ashraf, Deputy Council Leader, now made the pace clear with a figure at a construction start for a new housing block. A total of 50,000 new homes are to be built by 2037.
The Barking & Dagenham and Witten twinning arrangement is one of the oldest existing contacts between a German town and an English town.
The Colin Pond Foundation was set up in 2001 as a Trust Fund to provide grants for young people engaged on a professional training course. The main stipulation is that the apprenticeship, training course or study programme lead to a recognised qualification.