Lancaster West Into Employment
Nova makes its Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) service available free of charge to all local residents. Supporting people on their journeys into employment and improved employment, IAG attracts around 400 people a year and our Advisors work closely with individuals to create the right plan for them, addressing any barriers to work.
We understand the common challenges people face like long career breaks; health issues; housing problems; English as a second language; a lack of IT literacy and much more besides. Our belief is that everybody has value, and that society benefits when people are empowered to participate. Late last year we launched an IAG project specifically for residents of Lancaster West, which we hope will contribute to North Kensington’s recovery and the development of a thriving, prosperous estate.
Lancaster West — a Very Brief History
Lancaster West’s story mirrors the modern history of this vibrant area. Home to 795 households, it is the largest estate in Kensington and Chelsea and one of the largest in London. It opened in the mid-1970s as part of Britain’s post-World War Two slum clearance, which built housing upwards, changing the face of the country’s cities and towns.
The estate has one high-rise block, Grenfell Tower. Directly underneath the tower are the brutalist low-rise blocks, Hurstway Walk, Testerton Walk and Barandon Walk, designed as high-rise towers laying on their sides. These low rises are ‘streets in the sky’ built around communal green areas and were designed by architects Clifford Wearden and Peter Deakins in 1963/64. A similar design, with connecting first floor walkways, was envisioned for nearby Camelford Walk, Clarendon Walk and Treadgold House, but the plans were abandoned, and the council’s in-house architects developed these blocks in a less ambitious style. The change of architects helps to explain two things: the contrasting styles of buildings across the estate, and the fact that most people aren’t sure where exactly Lanc West begins and ends.
The drawing below from the Lancaster West Residents’ Association website shows just how far the estate stretches.
Notable former residents of Lancaster West include QPR and England striker Les Ferdinand. And the films Kidulthood and Adulthood were partly filmed there.
In recent years, Lancaster West has seen major changes. Grenfell Tower, which housed up to 600 people, was given a £9.2 million refurbishment in 2016, making it more congruent with its recently opened neighbours, Kensington Academy, and the rebuilt Kensington Leisure Centre.
Grenfell Tower is now shrouded, following the 2017 fire that tragically took 72 lives prematurely and devastated North Kensington.
From 1996 to 2018, Lancaster West estate was overseen by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) which, following the fire, was taken in-house back to the council. Previous council leaders had planned to demolish most of the estate, but this is no longer on the cards.
The estate now has its own management team, Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team, proactive in changing the way Lancaster West residents experience their homes.
But the Notting Dale ward remains an area of high deprivation, with the second lowest income score of any council ward in London and child poverty levels at around 30% (GLA Intelligence Unit statistics, 2020).
For these reasons, Nova is delighted to be offering IAG directly to estate residents from Unit 30, Baseline Studios on the estate every Thursday. IAG is a holistic programme designed to move people towards their employment and life goals.
IAG participants often take advantage of Nova’s other opportunities, including our Family Programme, educational classes and social change initiatives.
Appointments can be made via the Nova office. Drop-ins are also welcome.
Nova maintains records of participants’ personal information, but we do not share any personal information with any outside bodies including the council and estate management team. All meetings with Nova are confidential.