Celebrating our history and looking forward to continuing George Peabody's legacy into the future.

Last week brought to a close Peabody’s 150th anniversary year.

And what a fantastic year it was, celebrating a real milestone in Peabody’s history and offering time to reflect on how we can continue George Peabody’s legacy long into the future.

The year kicked off with the Westminster Abbey service to honour the life and work of George Peabody, followed by a stream of events including street parties across our estates, the Peabody in Bloom competition, the launch of our programme to tackle child poverty, an architectural competition to design 150 homes for 150 years... the list goes on.

Touching people's lives

Throughout the year, it was really special to see how Peabody’s work has touched the lives of so many people and made a real difference to them.

Westminster Abbey
More than 1,800 people attended the George Peabody service

It was remarkable just how many people came to us who are proud to be Peabody — to be a resident, part of our communities, a partner, an employee, a supporter.

A few testimonials stand out for me. This was written by Antonio Pappano who grew up on our estates some 45 years ago, and who went on to become the Music Director of the Royal Opera House:

"I grew up on a Peabody estate in Old Pye Street just behind Victoria Street. I remember it being my whole world, a sense of belonging to a community full of other little boys and girls...

"I had no idea of the history behind the Peabody estates when I was young, but over the years I've come to learn and appreciate just how important the estate was for my parents — they were just starting out, they had nothing but grit, determination and a work ethic that is the legacy they handed down to their two sons.

"We were able to move on to different blocks when we could manage it, as life got better and better. Crucially, everyone was looking out for one another. I shall never ever forget those times."

A high five with Michelle Obama

Today, a generation later, we are still continuing to provide opportunities — this was written by Joseph Blyth, who joined 350 other young Peabody people for a "Let’s Move!" event at the US Ambassador’s residence hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama:

"How can I explain this wonderful day! WOW... my highlight of the day was a high five with the First Lady. She’s tall! And I even scored a goal against a Manchester United goalkeeper. Had a penalty shootout with David Beckham and won. My dad, being a Chelsea fan, was well chuffed."

michelle obama
350 young residents enjoyed an unforgettable day with Michelle Obama, David Beckham and many Olympic athletes

To me, these stories bring to life our mission.

Looking to the future

As we look to the future, I am so proud that Peabody is in a really strong position moving forward.

Frankly, we need to be. It is a really difficult time for people. The squeeze on incomes, cuts to benefits and public spending, the ever growing demand for affordable housing, rising prices — it all means that our work to provide good homes and communities for low-income Londoners is just as relevant today as it has ever been over our 150-year history.

More than 7,000 people partied in our estates during the Diamond Jubilee weekend

Developing our community programmes

A few key projects we are focusing on will help meet this need.

An expanding development programme — we currently have 2,600 homes in our development pipeline, and aim to deliver 1,000 homes per year by 2016.

architectural competition
An exhibition of the shortlisted entrants was held at New London Architecture

Growing our work to build thriving communities and create opportunities to help people achieve their life potential, through our wide range of community programmes. This includes expanding our Employment and Training service — from successfully getting 320 people into work last year to a target of 1,000 people a year into work by 2016.

George Peabody's legacy

Creating new research to ensure we have a strong evidence-based understanding of the issues surrounding our work, so we are able to offer innovative solutions and ideas, influence national debate and take successful action to tackle poverty in London.

As you can see, we have a full programme and yet we want to do more. So please do continue to support us to carry on George Peabody’s legacy for another 150 years