Since our part of Northfleet was announced as a Big Local area we have been able to come together to produce a long term, but evolving, vision for our neighborhood. Our vision allows us to make the most of this gift of an opportunity from the Big Lottery Fund. The decline of industry, most notably the Cement Works (the last of which closed in 2008) brought with it a sense of disinvestment and abandonment. This is reflected in terms of indices of multiple deprivation and other statistics. Life expectancy for example, is eight years less in Northfleet than in Istead Rise, just 4 miles away.
However, this is far from the stereotypically defined unneighbourly deprived urban community. On the contrary, there exists a core group of community activists ready to challenge the assumption that Northfleet residents have only problems, not solutions. This has been borne out by some of the huge strides Northfleet’s Big Local community has taken since residents started getting involved in Big Local.