Co-producing situated positive social impact

How can we legitimise and amplify diverse voices to learn from local living knowledge? 

Experts in the field of art and culture collaborated with practitioners in the city of London to explore the potential of reaching out to residents to improve safety and conviviality. In this article, we describe the infrastructuring of creative community networks for practitioners and community leaders seeking context for engagement.  

The Regent’s Park Community Champions (RPCC) form part of Community Champions Camden, alongside other groups in Kentish Town and Kilburn. Community Champions is a public health initiative funded by Camden and Islington Public Health, which aims to support community members who volunteer to promote health and wellbeing or improve conditions in their local community. Champions use their social networks and life experience to address barriers to engagement and improve connections between services and disadvantaged communities. 



At Regents Park, the Community Champions are supported by their manager, Ellie Rudd, who is based at Fitzrovia Youth in Action. With a background in performing arts, Ellie has explored how a situated approach can increase local agency and wellbeing through self-initiated youth action. Ellie has assembled a network of 30 local resident leaders, over 40 supporter champions, plus hundreds of participants who take part in activities. The Champions meet regularly, with dedicated weekly times for: 8-16 year olds; an intergenerational group; and the Young Guardians community safety project for 12-24, hosted by the Old Diorama Theatre. There are monthly ‘socials’ and larger events initiated by residents. These have included: winter and Christmas events, an illuminated market, Cumberland Fun Fest, and the Regents Park Estate Community Festival [LINK to ODAC Content]. The group also runs one-off projects such as: wellbeing walks, clean-ups, creative activities, excursions, and a community kitchen. The residents of the estate regularly feed into activities and campaigns and set priorities, as well as some choosing to take more responsibility, or even leading projects.


Community clean-up

One of the first self-determined events that the RPCC completed was a community clean-up. This emerged from a common will to improve the estate developing into initial mapping activities and CSM/Tfactor supported ‘social’ to inform this and other ideas for improvement leading to an initial focus on Everton Mews. Everton Mews is an entry point to the estate, so many people walk along it each day, but it was in an unattractive physical state, suffering from fly tipping and neglect. In July 2022, a public outdoor event took place. It was a way for residents to engage with the RPCC and CSM/T-factor to share stories of the area as well as make suggestions for how the mews could be made a more convivial space in the future. RPCC and CSM joined forces to populate the mews with activity tables, a washing line to hang stories off and a recycled installation of opening doors, onto which people could write their hopes for the future in chalk paint pens. Food and refreshments were shared and children were invited to join in games. This activity led to a successful application for funding made to ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ for £800 to make Everton Mews a safer and more pleasant place through improved lighting and murals.

Event at Everton Mews: Ellie Rudd

Photo: RPCC/CSM Event at Everton Mews: Ellie Rudd

Champions lead the way

The champions have played a defining role in shaping T-Factor’s pilot at Euston. They fed directly into the four missions at Euston: safe and convivial streets; collaborative and circular economy; growing and greening; and arts, culture and heritage. The RPCC see T-Factor as an enabling force supporting them to make improvements to the estate. On the ground, this has translated into self-determined project groupings including: the storytelling and story collection team; safety guardians; community-led space at the Old Diorama; and a recycling, fly tipping and cleanliness team. These groups represent the varying interests of the Champions and understand that people have varied reasons and capacity for engaging with their neighbourhood.  

Being a champion is a source of growing pride locally. In the words of one, “I love being a champion – I have loved connecting with other residents and hearing that they also care about the area like I do. I am passionate about how people feel safe in our area as there are many problems and I will put my head up to speak on behalf of others when needed. Safety and wellbeing are linked in so many ways. I hope we start to be able to work together to seriously address safety and how people feel living here, have those with power or resource to listen and make real change.”


Holding space for social fabric

The Regents Park Estate is home to many different charitable organisations trying to improve the living standards of one of central London’s most disadvantaged areas. After years of austerity and the fatigue of working through Covid, many of these groups feel stretched and concerned about where future funding is coming from. Ellie and the RPCC have carefully positioned themselves not to overlap significantly with existing organisations, communicate with and support the work of others, as well as link into existing networks in meaningful ways. Working in such a complex environment requires sensitivity, adaptability and time spent building relationships and trust.  


The significance of community network and capacity building through initiatives like RPCC cannot be overstressed that the creating of this type of network is the most challenging aspect of projects like T-Factor. In the words of Adam Thorpe, who leads the pilot at Euston, “Collaborating with Ellie and the Community Champions is super-inspiring and productive – we really value our partnership and the potential impact that we can realise together. The focus of our collaboration this year has been on implementing the Champions’ proposals for arts and culture-led public realm improvements that can contribute to improve quality of life for residents in Regents Park Estate. This work brings together the Champions’ creativity and expertise with that of staff and students of University of the Arts London (Central Saint Martins and London College of Communication) and connects in with Euston partners and stakeholders to demonstrate, and bring forward, the potential benefits of equitable, regenerative and resident-led development. We’re optimistic and excited to fulfil the ambitious plans we have for our partnership next year!”



  • One of the key aspirations of the RPCC is to support the emergence of local leaders. Interactions with CSM and T-factor have helped to support a pioneering approach and make and enhance connections across the Regent’s Park Estate.  
  • One key moment of success happened during the Regents Park estate Festival when residents expressed a new sense of pride and hope in the area. 
  • You require more resources than you think. We were initially funded for £50K, but needed twice this amount, which we funded through other channels.
  • The group has recently been successful in a joint bid for funding with T-Factor, which will support the development of story trail installations and provide resources to hire resident community curators and commission artists to work directly with residents.