November 30, 2023

Supporting action on air quality in Kensington

On 25th September, Hope for the Future held an event at the Dalgarno Trust community centre in North Kensington seeking to bring local people together and do something about air pollution. All sorts of groups from across the area shared their unique experiences and expertise. Children’s activities and some delicious Ethiopian food and coffee made this a welcoming event for the whole community!

Two women serving Ethiopian food. Credit: Jon Goldberg.

Air quality is a pressing issue for our communities. Its health consequences can be deadly. It is damaging to quality of life, and the industries and transport systems which contribute to air pollution at a local level also drive the global climate crisis. To find out more, check out this blog written by Will Singh earlier this year, for Clean Air Day

It is clear that people are already getting organised and taking action on these issues.

Celeste Hicks from Mums for Lungs gave a heartfelt speech outlining the impact of air pollution on local families, and how local mums came together to educate themselves on the issue and take action. She praised the event for its focus on hearing from real people about solutions for tackling air pollution and climate change, adding that “If we are going to solve these challenges we need to bring everyone along with us.”

Celeste from Mums for Lungs speaking. Credit: Jon Goldberg.

We had a stall and speakers from the pioneering West London Healthy Home & Environment study (or WellHome), which is bringing together academics and the community to research underexplored aspects of air pollution such as the quality of air inside residential buildings. Esther Lie, the Community Engagement Coordinator for WellHome, talked to us about how vital the study is, and how it links with Hope for the Future’s work on this event: 

'On a daily basis we work with local residents living in highly polluted areas, with children with asthma, and severe cases of poor air exacerbated by damp and mould. It is crucial that local residents are given an opportunity to engage directly with MPs and those in power to air their concerns, push for accountability and connect with organisations who are fighting for clean air. With all the community-building we have been doing in 2022, we’re more than pleased to work with HFTF and local residents on further tangible ways they can empower themselves to take action. This feels like the beginning of something crucial in North Kensington'

Hope for the Future can support all of these existing efforts, providing tailored support and training with a focus on fostering the most effective engagement with elected representatives. We secured the attendance of Felicity Buchan, the Member of Parliament for Kensington, as well as some local councillors. Attendees had the chance to ask them questions and to put forward ideas for improving air quality in the area.

Esther from WellHome presenting about the study. Credit: Jon Goldberg.

Activities developed by our Youth Officer Rosie and and the education group Little House of Science made air quality, climate, and the protection of nature accessible to children of all ages. Sam Roberts, who ran the Little House of Science stall, highlighted the vital role of young people in addressing the climate crisis. He told us that "it was great to see children at the forefront of Hope for the Future's campaign to strengthen the community and improve participation in local democracy." We couldn’t agree more!

Sam from Little House of Science doing a demonstration for a young girl. Credit: Jon Goldberg.

Following on from the success of Kensington, we will bring the year to a close with an event in West Bromwich. On Saturday, 26th November, we’ll be inviting locals to join us at West Bromwich Community Centre for a day focusing on the connections between the energy, climate, and cost of living crises. We will offer a mix of practical energy-saving tips, art and education communicating the realities of climate change, and coming together to think about policy change and engaging with elected representatives. Sign up on our Eventbrite here, we’d love to see you there!

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