The Forgotten Roots: Whitehawk’s Working-Class Legacy
In the heart of Brighton lies Whitehawk, a council estate with a rich, often overlooked, working-class heritage. Formed as part of the city’s social housing plan, it served as the backbone for the labour force that powered Brighton’s development.
Yet, for decades, this sturdy community has borne the brunt of economic neglect and social stigma.
Once a thriving hub of working-class culture and community activism, North Whitehawk had become a shadow of its former self.
The Unfolding Crisis: Where Things Went Wrong
Whitehawk has been a place where the notion of community was forged in the fires of collective struggle, be it against housing inequities or for better living conditions.
However, in recent years, the community has faced the gradual erosion of its bedrock institutions.
Community centres, vital for gatherings, skill-sharing, and mutual aid, were shuttered or repurposed. Residents’ associations, once vibrant forums for democratic participation, faced dissolution.
The streets, once teeming with life, witnessed escalating housing repairs and a decline in public services. It felt as though the system had deliberately turned its back on the working-class legacy of Whitehawk.
Lists of Community Assets Lost Over Time:
- The Valley Social Centre
- The Greenhouse
- St David’s Hall
- The Old Doctor’s
- Surgery/Drug Rehabilitation Facility
- Our Old Youth Club, now Kite Place
- The Whitehawk Inn
A Recent Playground space transformed! – With Plans to plant bulbs and flowers and do up the general space which is well used by residents.
The Emergence of Modern Warriors: Park Life Brighton & More
Nevertheless, the indomitable spirit of Whitehawk has started to rise again. Embodied in initiatives like AGHAST, Class Divide, Park Life Brighton, and Save Whitehawk Hill, a new generation of community leaders and activists are emerging. These are not just campaigns; they are lifelines for a community seeking to reclaim its history and its future. They cover a broad spectrum of issues — from housing and education to the environment and culture, representing the multifaceted needs and aspirations of this special and diverse working-class community.
North Whitehawk Residents Association: Mobilising the Forgotten
Enter the North Whitehawk Residents Association—a much-needed platform that signifies a resurgence of resident-driven activism.
Born from the struggles and the resilience of the North Whitehawk community, this association aims to revitalise the area long relegated to the margins.
It is a call to arms for residents to unite, organise, and reclaim the community assets that were hard-won through years of working-class struggle.
At the recent inaugural meeting, a collective sigh of relief was almost palpable. Community leaders, local councillors, and even our MP, stood shoulder to shoulder with residents. They all expressed one common sentiment: “Enough is enough. It’s time to bring about change.”
Join the Movement
The North Whitehawk Residents Association stands as a testament to what can be achieved when a community unites against adversity. To be part of this vital resurgence, you’re invited to join by emailing Angela and Evie at [email protected]. Let us come together to make Whitehawk a symbol of working-class resurgence in the face of relentless challenges.
Local MP Weigh In on North Whitehawk Residents Group
“I was absolutely delighted that the North Whitehawk Residents Group was officially set up last night. It was heartening to see local councillors, council housing officers, and myself among the attendees. Whitehawk has been an under-served community for far too long.
The residents have faced issues like neglect in repairs and inadequate support services, and it’s high time these issues are addressed. This residents group is the perfect platform to hold council officers accountable and ensure that elected representatives like us are doing our job to improve the area.
We discussed a promising new programme to accelerate pending repair work, commitments for installing new bins, and afternoon bin collection to address missed pick-ups.
There are also plans for new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) that aim to engage with the community more closely. I’m pleased to announce that the Community Room will be made available to residents for free, and I wholeheartedly welcome the new elected committee, representing a broad cross-section of the area.”
Council Member Shows Support: A New Era for North Whitehawk?
“I think the formation of the North Whitehawk Residents Association is long overdue. The needs of this community are multifaceted—whether it’s housing repairs, social services, or cultural development, there’s a lot that needs immediate attention.
And what better way to address these than by bringing all the concerned voices under one platform? This will undoubtedly make finding viable solutions far easier.
I’m very optimistic about the kind of impact we can have and I look forward to working closely with the association as well as the local residents to ensure that North Whitehawk gets the focus and resources it so rightfully deserves.”