Headlines: September 22nd, 2000

The Stonebridge Housing Action Trust (HAT) in Harlesden, London has been making a real difference to child poverty. It has been praised for its parents’ programme, its learning centre, homework club and employment of local labour in the estate’s redevelopment.The HAT has been highlighted as one of the successful initiatives to bring down the number of children in homes where no one is in work, as revealed in the Government’s second annual report on poverty. In the three years to Spring 2000 the number of children living in households where no one is in work fell by more than 250,000.

The government has cited a string of welfare initiatives as responsible for bringing the figure down, such as getting more people into work, and the working families tax credit, but also praises smaller localised work. Six HATs were set up under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988 to regenerate some of the most deprived local authority estates in England. Their main aim is to achieve a sustainable and long lasting improvement in the living conditions in their areas, through repairing and improving housing; managing it effectively, encouraging diversity of tenure; and improving the social, environmental and living conditions of their areas.

Stonebridge HAT took over an estate of mixed high/medium rise flats and town houses in the London Borough of Brent six years ago. The estate has a diverse ethnic mix and a high proportion of young people.

Full details of the child poverty annual report are found at www.dss.gov.