Despite the important work of Pembroke House over 130 years, Walworth remains an area of stark inequality.
The estates immediately surrounding Pembroke House fall within the bottom 10% most deprived nationally, a third of the children in East Walworth live in poverty, and we are among the top neighbourhoods in London at risk of social isolation among the elderly. And yet these same estates sit alongside expansive new developments crowned by multi-million pound penthouses.
This isn’t for lack of trying. Over the past 130 years we’ve seen the creation of the welfare state, large-scale “slum clearances”, the erection of new housing estates (and their subsequent demolition), and targeted local reforms—often with huge budgets and long timescales.
Yet these responses to inequality are struggling to make a long-term impact. Just as the students who founded Pembroke House demanded a new approach, we need to try new ways of working together that don’t repeat the failings of the past.
We need this generation’s radicals: people willing to commit to specific communities as residents and neighbours and who recognise that, in building a better society, they have as much to learn as to give.
We need settlements for the 21st Century: places that offer a glimpse of a new community—where residents, local groups and organisations co-operate to build a better neighbourhood.
At Pembroke House we’re committed to creating and practising a new settlement model for the 21st Century. If this resonates, we want to hear from you.