One way is to offer more community-led projects, which is what My Yard, a charity founded by Rachel Dimond, has been striving to achieve through its impactful work with young residents on Grange Farm Estate. Located in South Harrow, Grange Farm is made up of 282 properties, largely Residorm flats which are built of fibreglass panels that are known to be “expensive and difficult to keep warm”, as noted by Harrow Council. Because of this, the Housing and Regeneration Department obtained permission to regenerate the estate, replacing the structures with 574 new houses and apartments. A lack of social housing and resources made it a tricky minefield for the residents to navigate; they were about to lose their homes.
My Yard was later invited by Young Harris Foundation to look into food poverty on Grange Farm, and its correlation with violence and antisocial behaviour. “We think we did way more,” explains Rachel, who states how they were told they couldn’t hold teen activities due to ‘risk of gang violence’.” Three years later, and to great success, the charity helped the estate set up Changemakers, a self-initiated project that hosted barbecues, circus acts, fairground rides, youth work, gardening spots and food markets, which encouraged friendships to blossom. These moments have now been archived into a celebratory publication titled Grange Farm Book. Conceived with support of the charity and a handful of guest artists, the book comprises 150 pages of photography – a grainy, almost vintage-looking depiction of life as a youth here. All of which is shot on medium format and disposable cameras, taken by the 10-15-year-olds themselves.