Education and health in Thamesmead
I visited Thamesmead recently to take a look at some of the health and education facilities in the area. I was struck by the passion and commitment of the individuals I met.
Earlier this year we welcomed Gallions into the Peabody family, with a commitment to spend £225m on regenerating Thamesmead. Trust Thamesmead and Tilfen Land then joined us too which brings together the major Thamesmead areas into one organisation for the first time in a generation.
Since then Thamesmead has been named in the Mayor’s housing strategy as a potential area for a garden suburb. Thamesmead is the ideal location for a garden suburb because of its improving transport links and existing assets, which include high quality schools and health facilities. I recently went to Thamesmead to visit some of these facilities.
Thamesmead: London's garden suburb
The first stop was to Woolwich Polytechnic, where we met head teachers Byron Parker and Tim Plumb. Like Peabody, this school was founded in the late 19th Century, and its founder (Francis Didden) was passionate about raising the aspirations of working people. Today, the school’s culture of high expectations enables the students to realise their potential. This has been reflected in the school’s increasingly strong results with 99% of its students achieving 5 A*-C GCSE results.
Later we visited one of the first academies, Bexley Business Academy, where we met with head teacher Guy Nichols and Chair Sam Elms. The Academy is based on a 33-acre site designed by Norman Foster. Like its Greenwich neighbour, the Academy has been achieving some fantastic results recently, and is in the top 10% of schools in the UK for continuous improvements in GCSE results.
Looking forward, both schools are determined to continue producing increasingly good results and lifting the aspirations of all their students. Peabody has a similar goal of lifting aspirations and providing opportunities in the Thamesmead community. With such closely aligned ambitions, we will be working closely with the schools, and will value their input into our comprehensive plan for Thamesmead.
Whilst looking around these centres I was impressed by the devotion of everyone we met to improving the wellbeing of Thamesmead residents.
Peabody is also concerned with the wellbeing of our communities, for example, our Big Lottery-funded Activate campaign promotes wellbeing, physical activity and healthy eating in our communities.
We look forward to working with the health centres to promote wellbeing in Thamesmead, and will find their input on our Thamesmead Futures project useful.
Our Thamesmead Futures project
Whilst visiting the health and education facilities I was struck by the dedication of the people to improving the aspirations and wellbeing of the local community and by the impact stress caused by welfare reform was having on the area. These people and their facilities are a real asset to Thamesmead and we want to work them on a Thamesmead action plan that will have a really positive and long lasting impact on the community.
Peabody has put together a specialist team – the Thamesmead Strategy team – to work on the action plan. The team will work with stakeholders and consultants to develop a plan that will create a high level economic case for investment in Thamesmead.
Our Thamesmead Futures prospectus will be published later this year.