Last week TSIP hosted a workshop in collaboration with Hackney Quest, HCVS, Shoreditch Trust and Young Hackney. The event, which was sponsored by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, is the first of a series of events which TSIP is planning in Hackney over the next few months in order to build a community of local people who want to work with us to set up London's first ever Civic Innovation Hub. 

The Civic Innovation Hub is a concept inspired by similar citizen-led programmes, such as Civic Hall New York. It will provide a space where teams of people can work alongside the Council and other public service providers and take the lead in redesigning local services. 

From using digital technology to increase donations to homeless people to working with the police to change the way that they interact with local youth - Civic Hall is making significant impact in NYC. TSIP is working with the people of Hackney to develop our own distinctive East London version. 

The workshop, hosted at Hub67, explored with our community of young Hackney citizens their experiences of the local area.

During the session it was great to see so many of our young people talking about the things that they love about Hackney - the parks, Olympic Games, creative arts spaces and diversity of food outlets - as well as those things that make them feel less welcome - hipster cafes, designer shops, expensive gyms and gated housing complexes. A consistent theme that we also heard is that young people often feel judged and stereotyped when travelling on the bus/train, hanging out in the street and sometimes even in school.

In the second half of the workshop we were joined by staff from the Council, community groups, charities, the NHS and local transport police who came along to support our young people to shape these challenges into thoughts and ideas about how we might be able to make Hackney a better place, including thinking about some design questions to get to practical solutions:

  • How might we help driven local residents (including young people) to develop affordable, sustainable community businesses across Hackney?

  • How might we ensure young people in the borough are paid for their time (i.e. rewarded for volunteering)?

  • How might we increase positive engagement across different ages within our community?

  • How might we increase the positive coverage of young people in the media?

And we came up with some great solutions, including:

  • Having businesses offer discounts for customers from the local community and/or young people

  • Developing a Hackney currency from volunteering to be used in local businesses

  • Providing alternatives to monetary payments for volunteering (i.e. recognition, accreditation, etc.)

  • A 'skills swap shop' - where young people teach older adults, and vice versa, depending on skills demand

  • Having youth correspondents at local media outlets

  • And many more..!


At our next workshop on 5 June our community of young people will have the opportunity to take the lead and team up with entrepreneurs and leaders from across London to develop their hypotheses into prototypes. They will then test these prototypes with a few of TSIP's partners who have the money and resource to help them further develop their ideas.

Click here to sign up to the next workshop.