How do 11-year-olds understand the regeneration of Deptford?

In summer 2018 I did workshops with year 6 pupils from Sir Francis Drake Primary School and Grinling Gibbons Primary School. Both workshops were held at and organised with the help of the wonderful team at Deptford Lounge. Pupils had already discussed the idea of regeneration with their teachers in school and were therefore prepared for this workshop that would go into more detail.

The first workshop involved 12 pupils from Sir Francis Drake Primary School, and the first question I asked them was what they could tell me about the regeneration of Deptford. Their responses were that Deptford is changing with more and more blocks of flats being built and with more and more people coming to Deptford. I then asked pupils to draw the building they are living in, place the drawings on a giant map of Deptford and talk about what they liked and disliked about living there. It emerged that most pupils from that group live in flats and that they appreciate having space, a park or green space nearby and living close to friends. What reduces their sense of well-being were not having space for themselves, all kinds of noise they can’t escape, particularly at night, rubbish lying around and strangers hanging around near their homes. There was one child in particular, whose housing situation was so bad with terrible overcrowding, leaks, noise, ill health and crime, that they could not think of anything positive to say. Another child, who was in temporary accommodation outside of Deptford, commented that the long commute to school with 2-3 buses made them feel exhausted and that they would love to be able to live nearer the school.

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