Report reveals £7.8 million social value boost for the Earls Court area
- Investment from The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) has amounted to £7.8 m worth of social value created to communities in Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
- ECDC has published its first annual social and economic impact report which assesses the impact of their community and meanwhile programmes in terms of jobs created, additional spend locally and social value created
- The report comes after ECDC unveiled its draft masterplan which delivers on their vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court’
20 April 2023 – A report released today by The Earls Court Development Company reveals that in the last year the communities around Earl’s Court have benefited from a £7.8 million social value boost and £2.9m of economic investment through the activities of ECDC.
In the last year, activities associated with the project have led to £2.9 million additional spend locally and created 59 full time jobs. The report reveals that in particular ECDC’s activity has improved the health and wellbeing of local communities, with 44% (close to £3.3 million) of the total social value boost focusing on supporting people with disabilities, improving nutrition and physical activity as well as mental health.
Since acquiring the site in 2019, as a local company, ECDC has committed to making a positive contribution to the local area. The company has developed a community programme, which includes an annual £180,000 Community Fund (of which a third round has just been launched), the opening of the Community Hub in 2022 providing a range of activities and classes for local people, and a £20,000 Hardship Fund, administered through local charity Dad’s House, helping people pay their energy bills and providing vouchers for food shops and toiletries.
In the last three years, ECDC has also invested in an extensive meanwhile programme with a core focus of opening the site up for local people and Londoners again, most recently the BBC Earth Experience ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ was formally opened by Sir David Attenborough on the Earls Court site last month.
Speaking at the report launch event, Social Value UK Chief Executive, Isabelle Parasram, said: “This development is a prime example of how close attention to social value can deliver a result for everyone, through proper engagement, complemented by fantastic community and meanwhile programmes.
“Social value is the worth of a project beyond profit, it measures the impact on the communities, the workforce and wider stakeholders. At Social Value UK we want to see every organisation make more decisions that are informed by their social impacts, just as ECDC have at Earls Court.
“We want to see a change in the way the world accounts for value and see more projects like this that deliver not just for shareholders, but everybody impacted by the changed space.”
Commenting on the report launch, ECDC’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations, Rebekah Paczek, said: “At ECDC we strongly believe our stewardship of the site comes with a responsibility to support local communities. We are proud to be a local Earl’s Court-based business and are committed to working with the local boroughs and community groups to make sure this development is a force for good in Earls Court, and across London.
The report highlights the importance of organisations like ours in creating a positive impact in local communities from the outset. We want to create a place which reinstates ‘wonder’ in this incredible part of London, today’s report shows the progress we are making on that ambition.”
A spokesperson from London Sports Trust, a recipient of the Earls Court Community Fund, said: “The Earls Court Community Fund has been vital to continue our work with children and young people around the estate in West Kensington, to get them out and about and try new sports. Without these programmes running in Summer, these kids don’t really have much to do and the extra funding has allowed us to provide them with food and drink as well.”
A spokesperson from Response Community Projects, who received grant funding from the Earls Court Community Fund last year, said: “The grant we received last year has been an amazing contribution to our services. Without that grant we would not have been able to expand and strengthen our volunteering activities. Volunteers are the lifeblood of this organisation, and ECDC and their contribution has been an amazing addition allowing us to make Earls Court a much better place.”
A spokesperson from Urbanwise said: “We were really pleased to receive funding form the Earls Court Community Fund this year. It has enabled us to reach out into this community and provide a range of different workshops. It has been fantastic, and we’ve worked with lots of different groups through this fund.”
This report comes after ECDC recently unveiled their draft masterplan, following two years of discussion and engagement with local communities. The plan delivers on ECDC’s vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court’ and includes up to 4,500 homes (targeting 35% affordable across all tenures), all set within a landscape-led development which aims to go beyond net zero.
ECDC will continue to support local organisations. The recipients of the 2022-2023 Community Fund are well underway with their projects, and the company recently launched the third round of the £180,000 Fund. ECDC will also be supporting more meanwhile activities over the course of the year, including hosting BBC Earth, and the annual Christmas Lights switch-on and Gifting Tree.
Notes to editors
About The Earls Court Development Company
The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) is an Earls Court-based business, responsible for driving the development of the Earls Court masterplan forward on behalf of Earls Court Partnership Limited. Earls Court Partnership Limited is the joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds and the Dutch pension fund manager, APG) and Transport for London (TfL).
Social Media: @earlscourtdevco
In February 2023, after over two years of discussion and engagement with local communities, ECDC presented the emerging designs for the masterplan of the derelict 40-acre site. The masterplan will evolve over the course of 2023, with a planning application due to be submitted by the end of the year. The draft masterplan proposes:
- A new park at the heart of the site, larger in size than Trafalgar Square
- Other public spaces including a new entrance square opposite Earl’s Court station that will retain and celebrate the steps to the Exhibition Centres, set to become a new but familiar West London public space and a key connection point through to Earl’s Court Road
- A variety of new performance and community venues and cultural programmes that attract and nurture talent.
- 15,000 new jobs in a new economic centre for West London, and 2,000 construction jobs during the build period
- 4,500 new homes to cater for all needs, targeting 35% affordable across all tenures.
- A plan that delivers for London and the UK, projecting £1.2billion per year GVA to the economy and £100million of annual spend into the local economy.
Since acquiring the site in 2019, as a local company, ECDC has committed to making a positive contribution to the local area. The company has developed a community programme, which includes:
- An annual £180,000 Community Fund (of which a third round has just been launched)
- The opening of the Community Hub in 2022 providing a range of activities and classes for local people
- A £20,000 Hardship Fund, administered through local charity Dad’s House, helping people pay their energy bills and providing vouchers for food shops and toiletries
- A Jubilee Lunch for the local community held in June 2022 and open to local residents and community groups
- A ‘Christmas Gifting Tree’, providing gift vouchers to local children who would otherwise not receive presents
- Support for Christmas Day lunches in 2021 and 2022 across H&F and K&C
- A Cost-of-Living support programme providing £20,000 worth of electric blankets and air fryers to residents in Hammersmith & Fulham along with a £15,000 cost of living winter support contribution to charities within RBKC
- Support for local training and education initiatives including coding courses, film and photography and other creative skills
- Creation of an onsite Future Skills Centre in conjunction with TfL
The site is 40 acres, with the total scheme set to deliver around 680,000 sq m (7.35m st feet) of development. The plans propose building on just 40% of the site, leaving as much space as possible for public open space. ECDC’s proposals are for a truly mixed-use scheme of around 60% residential and 40% commercial, culture, community, and retail space.
The economic projections of the proposals for Earls Court show significant public benefits for London and the wider UK. The scheme will contribute £1.2bn per year Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy with £37.2m per year spending by workers to the local economy.
What’s happening at Earls Court?
Earls Court is London’s biggest redevelopment opportunity, and there is an opportunity to create something extraordinary on this 40-acre site. ECDC has already made progress in the early delivery of community and cultural programmes on site and across the local area. This activity includes:
- The BBC Earth Experience opened on 30 March this year with their attraction Seven Worlds, One Planet. State-of-the-art projection technology takes visitors on a 360-degree journey, guided by the narration of Sir David Attenborough. Tickets for the attraction are now on sale
- In November 2022, ECDC opened the award-winning production of ‘The Great Christmas Feast’ by The Lost Estate at the former Mannequin Factory. The current production – ‘The Jazz Show’ – opened on 9 March 2023
- A vibrant pop-up high street on Lillie Road also offers food, drink, and shopping. One unit, called The Pop Up, is a free-to-use retail space, providing a pressure-free environment for new traders
- Launched a portrait focus Artist in Residence programme in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery offering artists £3,000 a month for a three-month residency
- Underbelly Festival has had two successful summers at Earls Court, transforming the site into a free public beach and open-air cinema alongside street food traders, pop-up bars and games for all ages, with over 160,000 people visiting the festival site over two years
- In June 2022, we opened a new Community Hub in West Kensington, a flexible space run by and for residents – hosting a range of mostly free activities and classes every week for local people
- In summer 2022, we launched Empress Studios – a creative workspace initiative that transformed six Victorian townhouses into 46 affordable studios for local creatives and innovators
- Brought the space in front of Earl’s Court Station (Warwick Road entrance) back to life with art installations, first hosting the Pleasure Garden in summer 2021 and more recently the Stars of Earl’s Court takeover by Azarra Amoy
- A partnership with London Design Festival (the first time LDF has ever come to Earl’s Court) in 2022
Community Fund Recipients quoted above:
London Sports Trust aims to inspire positive change for disadvantaged young Londoners through the power of sport, training and life skills to improve life outcomes as well as physical and mental health. We believe in young people’s capacity to aspire and achieve to maximise their potential despite the barriers they face.
Urbanwise.London exists to develop the hearts and minds of young people and adults, inspiring them to become active citizens who can make positive changes in their local community and wider environment.
Response Community Projects is a community based centre that serves the needs of the communities most vulnerable individuals while also offering a range of classes designed to increase educational attainment and general well being
The report was produced by Real Worth and SQW.
RealWorth is a consultancy that helps organisations identify, optimise, measure and communicate the social value of buildings, places and programmes. RealWorth was founded in 2016 and works with developers, public authorities and third sector place-makers to benefit the majority of people that are affected by the establishment of projects, programmes and policies. The company has been the social value advisor for the Earls Court Development Company and its partners since July 2021.
SQW are a leading independent provider of research, analysis and advice in economic and social development. Experts in public policy, they work with clients from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions across a wide range of policy domains. SQW are advising ECDC specifically on the economic inclusivity aspects of the proposed development and helping ECDC to measure its economic impact.