Communities Driving Change (CDC) is a borough-wide health and wellbeing programme that supports people to make their neighbourhood healthier, happier and better connected.

We do this by starting with people’s passions and ideas, supporting them to gain skills and confidence through training, coaching and connecting them to a network of local people and organisations who share similar goals.

Communities Driving Change follows a community development approach to public health based on the Well London model. We believe that the people who are best placed to make health decisions are those living in the communities themselves. We also focus on what resources are already in the community, rather than looking at what’s missing.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • build individual health outcomes (supporting people to be healthier and happier)
  • increase individual and group capacity (providing training and supporting people to work together to achieve common goals) and;
  • create service change (facilitating people to better understand how local services work and how to influence the way services are delivered).

At the Bromley by Bow Centre we work in the North East of Tower Hamlets, in Watts Grove, Burdett Estate and Old Ford Road, but people who live outside these areas are welcome to get involved too! Our work in the three areas has revealed an abundance of passion, skills, energy and ideas within the community.

Our CDC programme is run by 1 Project Manager, 3 Local Area Coordinators – Rujie in Watts Grove, Ricky in Burdett and Mina in Old Ford Rd, plus a 30 strong team of volunteers. Our volunteers are people who want to be more involved in their local area. We also work closely with local organisations to strengthen connections and foster collaborative working.

We recruit people to get involved via fun estate-based events (pre-Covid), word of mouth, coffee mornings (currently online), and through linking up with schools, religious institutions, housing providers and referrals from social prescribers.

Our achievements

Residents from each of the three areas have completed a film-making course, producing touching films that document local lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It broke my feeling of isolation. It was a date in my diary to look forward to. It was fun and we made new friends.”

– Carol, a participant in the photography classes

Our Community Voting Days in Watts Grove and Burdett Estate last year saw 90 people attend an event where 10 local people pitched project ideas that would benefit the local community. Residents then voted for their favourite ideas, which were later brought to life.

During the Covid-19 lockdown we have seen people’s confidence bloom even further. Our Old Ford Road Conversations group has moved online and has allowed people to host their own virtual workshops about topics that they want to share, from gardening tips, to singing Chinese folk songs.

A burgeoning group of cyclists led by Bow resident, John has given many people an opportunity to get back on their bike after a long time away. The group cycles around the local area, helping people to build their fitness, meet new people and to learn about new places of interest.

What’s coming up?

Burdett Estate:

Watts Grove:

  • Thursday 10am, Walking Group  meet outside Lighthouse Baptist Church

Old Ford Road:

  • Mondays, 10am – Cycling (for adults with health needs who want to cycle to improve their health)
  • Thursdays, from 1.30 to 2.30pm – Buddies of Bow Virtual Coffee Afternoon (virtual coffee with people from Bow)
  • Fridays, 2pm – Old Ford Road Conversations Online via Zoom (Mainly resident led activities including art classes, gardening, embroidery, storytelling and much more! Open to anyone)

Also in the pipeline we have online Arts and Crafts sessions; a film made by young people from Burdett FC (to be showcased to the community in September); and Stressiety are now in the process of creating an online platform to support young people with stress and anxiety.

Old Ford Road will have their Community Voting Day in October 2020 and residents who live in the area are invited to submit applications for funding for their community projects; up to a total of £500. Projects will be voted for by other residents in the area.

How can I get involved?

To get involved, contact:

  • Burdett Estate – Ricky: 0707556908
  • Watts Grove – Rujie: 07393019523
  • Old Ford Road – Mina on 07507556923

You can also sign up for the Bromley by Bow quarterly What’s On email to find out what’s coming up at the Centre.

Thanks to support from partners UEL and funding from Public Health Tower Hamlets.