The Camden Mothership Project and True, Pure & Sincere Community Regeneration.
This is an article designed to take you on a journey…a journey where community justice can be found for the Residents of West Hampstead & Camden collectively. It involves a major Community Project namely, ‘The Camden Mothership Project’ which I have had the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction of trying to aid achieve their mission, goals and long-term objective, through their peaceful, positive and wholly inclusive, principled way of life.
It involves a previously ‘disused’ Camden Borough Council Housing located near to West Hampstead Station. In the centre of town, it is a five-floor high rise, which used to have a function for Camden Council as a Housing Department Office.
Empty for around three years, it was on the agenda to be sold for profit and ‘regenerated’ into ‘affordable housing’ and private housing. Plans were not due to start after 2017.
Led by ‘Phoenix’ a veteran housing and environmentalist campaigner, a small team of community regenerators have taken the building back. They have named their cause The ‘Camden Mothership’ Project and started immediately their mission to provide services and support to the local community at much needed time, in Camden.
The regenerators plans include:
An Art Workshop to run classes, exhibitions and groups
A Cinema, to show educational and constructive media
An Internet Cafe
A Roof Garden, for Gardening Projects
A Parent and Kids space
Skill-Sharing Workshops, Training, Talk, Seminars & Lectures
Meeting and Conference space
A Reception desk with office facilities
Yoga, Meditation and Healing
Open Mic/Music events
Permaculture and Renewable Energies
A Music/Video Recording Studio
The sheer magnitude of the collective thought that has gone into Phoenix’s Team strategy, is remarkably beautiful. Having had a long-standing career (or life-choice) of transforming vacant properties into Community Hubs, Phoenix’s knowledge, expertise and methods in this field is unparalleled.
Behind him is a Team, diverse and multi-cultural as well as multi-dimensional due to their special abilities to bring something different and unique to the Project.
The work that is being done at the Mothership is one of true justice. A pro-active approach towards helping regenerate, redevelop and redesign the long-term social strategy for the premises could inevitably prevent the Council from achieving their plans to privatize the Land.
Considering it is a disused Council Office, it in effect belongs to the residents of West Hampstead. It should not be seen as an economic asset of the Council, as a Council is not a private Commercial entity.
This brings into the frame, Camden’s finance chief, Theo Blackwell. His profit-led stance is that the premises would have provided affordable housing, in the future. But the truth of the matter is that this housing re-development would have been managed by commercial entity A2 Dominion and left in their hands, after the Land had been sold off to them.
The argument that this space would have benefited from being torn down and remade into something else, falls flat due to one critical factor — if you take something away from the public, you must strive to give back something better. You cannot take away a public Council building and give it to private investors without a loss to your local society. This social ‘loss’ far outweighs the social ‘gain’ from the Council’s housing re-development plans.
Sian Berry, of the Green Party, agrees.
I see a national picture unfolding. From the Mothership, Phoenix and his team of regenerators may have presented a viable alternative to the Government’s strategy of local regeneration, which in my eyes is failing epically, nationally.
From here, we can look towards other cities, boroughs and localities where such properties are vacant and implement similar strategies, using Phoenix’s development strategy.
I leave you with the notion that it all started with a journey. A journey to the Mothership where those on-board, truly wanted to help society achieve a positive and content, way of life.